Friday, April 20, 2007

TAM: Tacoma Art Museum Presents Japanese Print Collection with Landscape Photos of William B. Post



April 19, 2007


For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Alyssa Rosso, Public Relations Coordinator, 253.272.4258 x3002,


Tacoma Art Museum’s Japanese Prints Presented with

Landscape Photographs of William B. Post


(Tacoma, WA) –Highlights from Tacoma Art Museum’s growing collection of Japanese woodblock prints will share gallery space with The Quiet Landscapes of William B. Post this summer. Post drew much of his aesthetic inspiration for his pictorial photography from Japanese prints, creating photographs with rich, tonal qualities, asymmetrical compositions, and a lyrical poeticism. To explore this connection, the museum will present many of its own woodblock prints in 36 Views of Japanese Woodblock Prints: Selections from the Tacoma Art Museum Collection. The exhibitions will be on view together from June 23 to September 16, 2007.

This is the first solo exhibition of William Boyd Post’s work in more than a century. Quiet Landscapes presents sixty rare, vintage palladium prints taken at the turn of the twentieth century. He was an integral part of the pictorial photography movement (1880-1910) that helped to establish the media as an art form. Like many painters, photographers, and designers of his day, Post was influenced by Japanese aesthetics. After traveling to Japan in 1891, his style of photography emulated Japanese aesthetics and compositions.

Post was close friends with Alfred Stieglitz and in the early 1890s he showed the famous photographer how to use George Eastman’s new invention, the Kodak. He was a founding member of the New York Camera Club and was very active in the Society of Amateur Photographers of New York, of which Stieglitz was also a member.

Stieglitz promoted Post’s work at the 291 gallery for fifteen years and encouraged him to be less modest about his talents. He was part of Steiglitz’s early circle, and played an instrumental role in forging photography’s place in American art history. By manipulating the technical aspects of photography through soft focus lenses and tonal printing processes, Post and his contemporaries offered a distinctly American response to the impulse known as pictorialism.

Post, like many photographers in Steiglitz’s circle, was strongly influenced by ukiyo-e prints (translated as pictures of the floating world), which celebrated the delights of life during the Edo period (1600–1868) in Japan. Upon the opening of trade with Japan in the 1850s, Japanese art began circulating in the West and influencing Western art circles. To highlight the artistic affinity between Post’s turn-of-the-century pictorial photography and Japanese prints, Tacoma Art Museum presents these works together.

“We have a unique opportunity to display Post’s work in the context of the work that inspired him,” said Zoe Donnell, Curatorial Coordinator and organizer for 36 Views of Japanese Prints. “Our museum’s extensive Japanese print collection allows us to demonstrate the common themes across cultures.”

Both exhibitions focus on the observation and experience of nature in all seasons. 36 Views of Japanese Prints includes works such as Suzuki Harunobu’s Poetic Allusion on Bush Clover in Autumn Field, Katsushika Hokusai’s Restaurant at Mariko, and Utagawa Hiroshige’s Evening Snow at Kambara. The exhibition will also reflect the breadth of the collection, with prints dating from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. The core of the exhibition comes from the Constance R. Lyon collection, donated to the museum in 1971.

Additional prints from the recent gift of Dr. and Mrs. Alfred Buck will be on view for the first time. Despite their age (some date from the late eighteenth century), they are in nearly pristine condition because the family stored them away for more than a century.

“The Buck collection perfectly complements the Lyon collection, making Tacoma Art Museum’s Japanese print collection the most comprehensive on the West Coast,” said Rock Hushka, Director of Curatorial Administration and Curator of Contemporary and Northwest Art. “It has been a long time since we’ve had prints from the Lyon collection on view, and it will be the first time for the Buck collection. This exhibition will be a wonderful opportunity to experience the breadth of the museum’s holdings.”

                The Quiet Landscapes of William B. Post is organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and is traveling nationally. The exhibition is generously sponsored by The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and City Arts Magazine.

36 Views of Japanese Woodblock Prints: Selections from the Collection is organized by Tacoma Art Museum. The exhibition is generously supported by the Tom and Jane Yotsuuye Family.



Heide Fernandez-Llamazares

Museum Educator and Docent Coordinator



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Tacoma, Washington 98402

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