CLARK ART INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES GIFT OF JAPANESE WOODBLOCK PRINTS

For Immediate Release
 
February 20, 2015
 
Williamstown, MA—The Clark Art Institute announced today the gift of sixty-three Japanese color woodblock prints dating from 1832 to 1971. The gift comes from long-time Clark docent Adele Rodbell of Richmond, Massachusetts. The Rodbell Family Collection enhances the Clark’s current holdings of Japanese prints and provides new exhibition opportunities as well as insights into and new perspectives on works in the Clark’s collection. An exhibition of prints from the collection is planned for the fall of 2015. This summer selected prints will be included in the Van Gogh and Nature exhibition.
 
“Adele Rodbell has long been a generous supporter of the Clark, giving her time and talent as a docent for thirty-six years,” said Michael Conforti, director of the Clark. “It is incredibly meaningful to us that she has chosen to make such an important gift to the Clark. These works are a wonderful addition to our somewhat modest collection of Japanese prints and create a distinct harmony with the Japanese architecture that has transformed our campus.  Adele’s exceptional generosity speaks volumes about her dedication to the Institute and her desire to share this wonderful gift with our community,” Conforti said.
 
The Rodbell Family Collection
Greatly expanding the Clark’s collection of Japanese prints, this remarkable gift of sixty-three works consists primarily of landscape prints ranging from the late ukiyo-e through the shin hanga and sōsaku hanga movements of the 1920s and 1930s to post-war Japan. Highlights include a Hokusai landscape, a number of works from Hiroshige’s renowned series 100 Famous Views of Edo, three of Hasui’s winter scenes, mountain landscapes by Yoshida, and the Zen architecture prints of Saitō.
 
Hiroshige and Hokusai greatly influenced many of the Impressionist-era artists represented in the Clark’s collection including Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edvard Munch, and James McNeill Whistler. Yoshida’s landscapes were influenced by American artists such as Winslow Homer, a prominent figure in the Clark collection. Saitō considered several artists represented in the Clark’s collection as his primary artistic influence.
“The freshness and immediacy of these prints is striking. It is rare indeed to see a collection of such superior quality and condition,” said Jay A. Clarke, Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Clark.
 
Adele Rodbell
Adele Rodbell and her late husband Donald lived in Japan from 1969–1972. During this time, Rodbell took an art history class and became interested in Japanese art, especially prints and ceramics. She acquired a few prints in Japan but her passion for the medium carried back to the United States where she continued to collect.
 
“When thinking about where this collection should permanently reside, I considered a number of museums whose Japanese print collections were already quite well established,” said Rodbell. “I thought the Clark was an ideal place for the prints to be. I had a long-term relationship with the Clark, which was expanding its collecting interests into new areas. In addition, two new buildings were being constructed by the fine Japanese architect Tadao Ando. It all seemed to be a perfect fit. It’s exciting that the prints will be shown this summer in buildings designed by Ando.”
 
Rodbell has been a volunteer docent at the Clark since 1978. During that time she has donated some 5,000 hours of service giving gallery talks to approximately 20,000 school children and adults, researching and learning, and imparting her vast knowledge of the Clark’s collection to other docents. In 1983 Rodbell was involved in planning the exhibition Eastern Winds: The Imprint of Japan on 19th and 20th Century Western Graphics. The project explored how the Impressionists were influenced by Japanese art. In 2009 when the Clark presented Through the Seasons: Japanese Art in Nature Rodbell’s knowledge of Japanese prints and ceramics was utilized in special exhibition gallery talks.
 
“Adele is a valuable member of the Clark’s education team,” said Ronna Tulgan-Ostheimer, director of adult, school, and community programs. “She has reached so many people through her work as a docent. It is wonderful to know that a part of her will always stay with the Clark and continue to educate the public.”
 
ABOUT THE CLARK
 
The Clark Art Institute is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, open to the public with more than 240,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.
 
The Clark opened its expanded facilities on July 4, 2014, unveiling new and enhanced spaces that accommodate the continued growth of the Institute’s programs. Included in this final stage of the project are the new 42,600-square-foot Clark Center designed by Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, expansion and renovation of the original Museum Building and the ongoing renovation of the Manton Research Center by Selldorf Architects, and a sweeping redesign of the grounds by Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture. The first phase of the campus expansion project was completed in 2008 with the opening of the Lunder Center at Stone Hill, a striking conservation and exhibitions facility also designed by Tadao Ando.
 
The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. For more information, visit clarkart.edu or call 413 458 2303.
 
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