MMAC Exhibition Celebrates Japanese Art and Culture

February 05, 2014

MISSOULA – Committed to offering the highest-quality art, the Montana Museum of Art & Culture at the University of Montana will host a traveling exhibition titled “The Japanese Woodblock Print: An Extension of the Impermanent.” This exhibition will be complemented by works from the MMAC Permanent Collection and two Japanese Friendship Dolls. The exhibition will be on view Feb. 20-April 19 in the Meloy and Paxson Galleries in the Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center.

The community is invited to experience the culture of Japan at an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, in the PAR/TV Center lobby. Participants will enjoy Japanese cuisine, ikebana and a traditional shamisen performance by UM Visiting Assistant Professor Simon Hutchinson. James Bailey, professor in the UM School of Art printmaking program will demonstrate traditional Japanese woodblock printing techniques, and attendees will receive a free print. The event is free and open to the public.

The exhibition includes Japanese woodblock prints from the late 18th to the early 20th century by well-known Japanese masters such as Hiroshige, Hokusai, Kunisada, Kuniyoshi, Sharuku, Toyohiro, Toyokuni, Utamaro and later artists such as Sadanobu III, Shoson (Koson Ohara), Hiroshi Yoshida, Hiroyuki Tajima and French immigrant Paul Jacoulet. Approximately 60 prints are on loan from the George and Claire Louden Collection, combined with 25 prints from the MMAC permanent collection.

In addition, two prints by Hiroshi Yoshida are on loan from the UM Department of English, permanently housed in the Harrington Seminar Room. These works were donated by Emily Harrington in memory of Hank and Nancy Harrington.

The Loudens assembled their collection while employed by National Geographic and the United States Foreign Services. This exhibition was organized by the Carr Gallery of the Idaho Falls Arts Council and travels under the auspices of the Montana Art Gallery Directors Association.

Also on view are two rare Japanese Friendship Dolls, Miss Tottori from the Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society in Pierre and Miss Aomori courtesy of Alan Scott Pate. Japanese Friendship Dolls were a gift from Japanese children to American children in response to 12,739 American blue-eyed dolls sent to Japan in early 1927. Only 47 of the 58 Japanese Friendship Dolls have been located. One was destroyed by Hurricane Camilla in 1969. Internationally renowned ningyô (or Japanese doll) scholar Alan Scott Pate, author of “Ningyô: The Art of the Japanese Doll” and “Japanese Dolls: The Fascinating World of Ningyô” will present a lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, in the Montana Theatre located in the PAR/TV Center. He will discuss Japanese Friendship Dolls and his upcoming publication.

UM Assistant Professors of Japanese Robert Tuck and Brian Dowdle will present a lecture on Japanese prints and culture at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, in the Masquer Theater.

The MMAC’s hours during the academic year are noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. The museum is open to the public with a suggested $5 donation. For more information call 406-243-2019 or visit




Contact: Brandon Reintjes, curator of art, Montana Museum of Art & Culture, 406-243-2019,