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The Feinberg Collection: Six Works [CANCELED]

Tawaraya Sōri, Autumn Maple Trees, Japanese, Edo period, second half 18th century. Six-panel folding screen; ink, color, and gold on paper. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.39.


Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street
Cambridge MA

Due to Harvard University’s recent on-campus meeting and event guidance around Coronavirus (COVID-19), this event has been canceled. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

The Edo period (1615–1868) was a time of critical change in the history of Japan; the country settled into an era of peace under the warrior government of the shoguns and opened its doors to greater engagement with the outside world. The dizzying array of artistic lineages and studios active during this early modern period fueled an immense expansion of Japanese pictorial culture that reverberated not only at home, but subsequently in the history of painting in the West. Artists creatively juxtaposed past and present, eternal and contingent, elegant and vulgar in a wide range of formats and styles, from brilliant polychrome compositions to monochromatic inkwork.

Virtually every major school and movement is represented within the remarkable Feinberg Collection, judiciously assembled by Robert and Betsy Feinberg over more than four decades. The Feinbergs, in an act of extraordinary generosity, have promised their collection to the Harvard Art Museums. This symposium examines the collection through six representative works, offering a window onto how the period—and the vibrant city for which it was named—was articulated by and for the paintings’ contemporary and more recent consumers.

The symposium coincides with the exhibition Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection, on view at the Harvard Art Museums from February 14 through July 26, 2020.

Co-sponsored by Harvard University’s Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, the Department of History of Art and Architecture, and the Harvard Art Museums.

Each presenter will speak for 10 minutes on a work from the Feinberg Collection; a designated respondent will speak for an additional 10 minutes. A further 10 minutes will then be allotted for continued discussion between the presenters and questions from the audience.

Director’s Welcome and Introductory Remarks
Martha Tedeschi, Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director, Harvard Art Museums
Rachel Saunders, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Curator of Asian Art, Harvard Art Museums
Yukio Lippit, Jeffrey T. Chambers and Andrea Okamura Professor of the History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University

Work: Kano Sanboku (active mid-17th to early 18th century), Tribute Bearers to the Chinese Emperor
Presenter: Aaron Rio (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Respondent: Yukio Lippit (Harvard University)

Work: Kitagawa Utamaro (d. 1806), Seated Beauty
Presenter: Janice Katz (Art Institute of Chicago)
Respondent: Rosina Buckland (Royal Ontario Museum)

Work: Soga Shōhaku (1730–1781), Race at Uji River
Presenter: Kit Brooks (Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution)
Respondent: Khanh Trinh (Museum Rietberg)


Work: Tani Bunchō (1763–1841), Grasses and Moon
Presenter: Akiko Walley (University of Oregon)
Respondent: Christine Guth (Royal College of Art and Victoria and Albert Museum, Emerita)

Work: Tawaraya Sōri (active mid- to late 18th century), Autumn Maple Trees
Presenter: Frank Feltens (Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution)
Respondent: Rachel Saunders (Harvard Art Museums)

Work: Okuhara Seiko (1837–1913), Lotus in Autumn
Presenter: Chelsea Foxwell (University of Chicago)
Respondent: Victoria Weston (University of Massachusetts Boston)

General Q&A and Closing Remarks

The symposium will take place in Menschel Hall, Lower Level. Please enter the museums via the entrance on Broadway. Seating will begin at 12:30pm. Free admission, but seating is limited.

Complimentary parking available in the Broadway Garage, 7 Felton Street, Cambridge.

The symposium was made possible by Harvard University’s Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies and the Department of History of Art and Architecture Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund for Art and Architecture.

Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection was made possible by the Robert H. Ellsworth Bequest to the Harvard Art Museums, the Melvin R. Seiden and Janine Luke Fund for Publications and Exhibitions, the Catalogues and Exhibitions Fund for Pre-Twentieth-Century Art of the Fogg Museum, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the Thierry Porté Director’s Discretionary Fund for Japanese Art, and the Japan Foundation. The accompanying print catalogues were funded by the Harvard Art Museums Mellon Publication Funds, including the Henry P. McIlhenny Fund. Related programming is supported by the M. Victor Leventritt Lecture Series Endowment Fund.