Hanford, CA 93230
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In 1995, The Ruth & Sherman Lee Institute for Japanese Art, located about 45 miles south of Fresno in the town of Hanford, was founded by Elizabeth and Willard Clark to 'collect, conserve, study, and exhibit' the paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts of Japan. The rapidly growing collection is comprised of many distinguished works representing artistic activity in Japan from the 10th into the 21th century.
Through a significant gift of Japanese paintings from the Clarks, the Institute's collection was established in October of 1995. Nearly one hundred and sixty hanging scrolls, thirty pairs or single screens, ten works of sculpture mainly from the Kamakura period (1185-1333), and a number of pieces of decorative art primarily from the Meiji period (1868-1912) are housed at the Institute. The gallery spaces allow for approximately ten percent of the collection to be on display at one time. Among the highlights of the collection are exquisite Buddhist sculpture and painting from the Kamakura period, a wide range of paintings from the Edo period (1615-1868), and a selection of folding screens of the finest quality.
The Institute is nestled amidst one hundred and ten acres of walnut trees in the great interior valley of California. Its comfortable facility and rural setting offer a modern 'scholar's studio' environment for contemplation and study. As they enter the first gallery, visitors are greeted with paintings/single screens displayed in tokonoma (alcoves) with tatami (bamboo straw mats), integral elements to a traditional Japanese-style home. The main gallery is clean and spare, and features natural light diffused with ultraviolet protective glass. Artificial lighting is also used when appropriate and the gallery is completely darkened when not in use.
The Ruth & Sherman Lee Institute for Japanese Art was formed to collect, preserve, study, exhibit, and educate the public about works of fine art. While the arts of no country are excluded, the Institute's primary focus will be the arts of Japan. Through these means it hopes to further understanding of the culture of Japan and foster friendship between Japan and the U.S.A.
Connoisseurship, defined as concern for the visual power, aesthetic quality and authenticity of works of art as recognized through the highest standards of judgement and taste, shall infuse all activities of the Institute, and shall be the determining factor for deliberations and decisions by the Institute's Board of Directors. Using the study and exhibition of its collection as one catalyst, the Institute seeks specifically to encourage and increase recognition of the aesthetic delight which connoisseurship of works of art can provide, and to promote consideration of the inter-relationships of great works regardless of their origins in time or place. Other academic issues regarding works of art are not the concern of the Institute
Phone: (559) 582-4915
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