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Japanese Prints Abroad in Portland: The Mary Andrews Ladd Collection

Japanese woodblock prints were met with an enthusiastic audience abroad in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. In Europe and the United States, tens of thousands of prints were bought and sold, exhibitions and record-breaking auctions staged, and a new passion kindled for private collectors. Most of what we know about early American print collecting has been focused on the East Coast—donations that were the basis for the world-class museum collections in Boston, New York, and Chicago. Lesser-known but just as significant was the donation of the Mary Andrews Ladd collection of Japanese prints to the Portland Art Museum in 1932. Drawing on the Museum’s archives, period records, and the collection itself, this lecture will explore this transformational gift of nearly 750 Edo-period (1603–1868) woodblock prints, and expand the story of early Japanese print collecting in the United States.

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