Celebrating One Hundred Years of Collecting Asian Art

One hundred years ago, in 1913, the noted collector Charles Lang Freer made gifts of the first Asian artworks to enter the collection of the Smith College Museum of Art.  This exhibition commemorates this centennial anniversary by highlighting the Museum's holdings of Asian art.  It also announces SCMA's renewed commitment to developing this important part of its collection, recognizing Smith College's increasingly international scope and growing strength in Asian studies.

The collection of Asian art that has taken shape over the past century reflects the evolving aspirations for Smith’s museum as well as the engagement of the College and its alumnae and friends with Asia’s diverse countries and their rich cultures and history.  Built largely through gifts, it is in many ways a collection of collections, telling the stories of the passion and experience of numerous collectors and their commitment to providing Smith students with the opportunity to study and learn directly from original works of art.  The Museum’s renewed focus on non-Western art in the last ten years and recent gifts, particularly of Asian art created since the 1950s, have significantly enriched the collection.  This history of institutional collecting is examined in a new catalogue of highlights from the Asian collection.  
Catalogue Introduction by Jessica Nicoll, SCMA Director and Louise Ines Doyle '34 Chief Curator
This project is made possible by the generous support of the Louisa Stude Sarofim 1995 Charitable Trust and The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston, both through the initiative of Louisa Stude Sarofim '58, and the General Art Fund.  Additional support for educational programming is provided by the Carlyn Steiner '67 and George Steiner Endowed Fund, in honor of Joan Smith Koch.

Collecting Art of Asia is installed in galleries located on three floors of the Museum and includes Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and South and Southeast Asian art from the permanent collection,
 as well as promised gifts.

Image: Sopheap Pich. Born Cambodia, 1971. Seated Buddha—Abhaya Mudra. 2012. Bamboo, rattan, wire, plywood. Purchased with the Dorothy C. Miller, class of 1925, Fund. Photograph by Sopheap Pich.