About the collector

In 2014 Adele Rodbell of Richmond, Massachusetts gave the Clark sixty-three Japanese color woodblock prints from the Rodbell Family Collection. This transformative gift greatly enhanced the institute’s holdings of Japanese prints.

Rodbell and her late husband Donald first became interested in Japanese art while living in Japan between 1969 and 1972. When Donald was appointed a scientific representative for the research laboratory at General Electric, the family of five moved to Tokyo and traveled extensively throughout the country. During this period, Adele took courses in both the history of Japanese art and Japanese calligraphy. It was then that the family began to collect Japanese prints and ceramics. Upon returning to the United States, they maintained their passion for Japanese art and continued to collect prints and ceramics in the coming decades.

Adele Rodbell has been a volunteer docent at the Clark for more than thirty-eight years. When she began as a docent, Adele learned how Japanese woodblock prints influenced late nineteenth-century art in America and Europe. Later, when thinking about where her collection should permanently reside, she considered a number of museums whose Japanese print collections were already well established. But given her long-term relationship with the Clark, she knew the collection was expanding into new areas and that the institute’s holdings in Japanese prints were sparse. In this gift to the Clark, the Rodbell family has contributed to the continued study of these works, thereby educating future generations of admirers and scholars of Japanese art and history.

Donald and Adele Rodbell

Donald and Adele Rodbell, Colorado,
c. 1990