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Japanese Paintings and Prints: Celebrating LACMA’s 50th Anniversary

The first works of Japanese art to enter the collection of the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art—which eventually became LACMA in April 1965—were a large group of woodblock prints acquired in 1916, three years after the museum opened. Today, the museum’s permanent collection of Japanese art reflects the interests of a group of individuals in Southern California who came to appreciate Japanese art and culture over the course of the 20th century, particularly in the post-WWII decades.

As part of LACMA’s commitment to Japanese art, the museum made significant artwork purchases in addition to acquiring large gifts of inrō, traditional and contemporary prints, ceramics, and netsuke. Moreover, in the 1980s the museum constructed a building exclusively for the display of Japanese art, and in the early 90s a separate department for Japanese art was established.

Japanese Paintings and Prints: Celebrating LACMA’s 50th Anniversary commemorates the museum’s 50th year as well as the individuals and groups who have shaped the museum’s collections of Japanese paintings and prints. Included are gifts from private collectors, works purchased through the generosity of individual donors, and objects acquired through the support of various museum groups.

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