Thanks to funding from Bank of America’s Art Conservation Project, a pair of important 17th-century Japanese screens, Scenes in and around the Capital, are currently being restored by specialists at Studio Sogendo, a private studio in California. The screens, likely created by a machi-eshi, or “town painter,” present a panoramic view of Kyoto during the Edo period. They show both Kyoto’s center and its periphery, and give insight into the daily lives of different social classes, in addition to representing seasonal festivals.
When the screens first arrived at SAM in 1975, they were already in fragile condition and by the time this conservation work began in 2017, extensive repairs were desperately needed. Painted using ink, color, and gold, and mounted on wooden frames, the screens are being restored using traditional Japanese methods and materials. I was able to visit Studio Sogendo while one of the panels had been stripped of its backings and laid on a light table, allowing a rare perspective of the materials and quality of the painting. The conservation treatment has been invaluable, not just in terms of preserving the paintings, but also in offering opportunities for examination and study. The internal frames must be replaced and expert craftsmen in Japan made new custom frames for the work. The incredibly precise joinery of the new frames can be seen in these images. The conservation phase of the project is nearing completion and the reassembly of the structure, replacement of the mount fabrics, and retouching of the areas of loss is underway.
This crucial project would not be possible without Bank of America’s Art Conservation Project, one of few programs dedicated to preserving historically or culturally significant artworks. We look forward to the return of Scenes in and around the Capital, which will be on view among SAM’s extensive Asian art collection when the Seattle Asian Art Museum reopens in late 2019!
– Nicholas Dorman, SAM Chief Conservator
If you missed the opportunity to take advantage of free admission to SAM and the Seattle Asian Art Museum on First Thursday, don’t fret. This weekend, there are several ways you can come visit us for free!
First Fridays: Admission is free for seniors 62+ the first Friday of every month. (And by the way, teens aged 13-19 get in free every Second Friday from 5-9 pm.)
First Free Saturday Presented by Wells Fargo: On September 3 from 11 am – 2 pm, bring your family to the Seattle Asian Art Museum to create ink drawings with music from the drums played across Asia, including Japan, Korea, India and the Philippines.
Bank of America’s Museums on Us: On the first full weekend of every month, Bank of America cardholders receive free admission at SAM and the Seattle Asian Art Museum.
Blue Star Museum Program: SAM and the Seattle Asian Art Museum are participating with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and over 1,000 museums in the US by offering free admission to military personnel and their families.Over 2,000 people have already come to SAM thanks to this program. Just show your military ID. The military ID holder plus up to five immediate family members (spouse or child of ID holder) are allowed in for free per visit.
If none of these free days apply to you, please remember that admission at SAM and the Seattle Asian Art Museum is suggested, and we welcome you to pay what you can.
The Seattle Art Museum is a new partner of Museums On Us, Bank of America’s nationwide program that provides greater access to museums, zoos, science centers and other cultural institutions. SAM is one of 153 participants who offer free admission to Bank of America cardholders on the first full weekend of every month. Get free admission to SAM Downtown May 7 and May 8 just by presenting your Bank of America debit or credit card.
Speaking of banks, Wells Fargo is presenting Free First Saturday at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Bring your family and try your hand at making drawings with bamboo and ink 11 am-2 pm. There will also be a free showing of the Japanese animated film “Pom Poko” at 1:30 pm.
On Sunday, bring your mom, grandma, nana, bubbe, abuela, stepmom, mother-in-law, baby’s mama, etc. to SAM and the Seattle Asian Art Museum on Sunday. Moms get in free!
For more details, visit our calendar or Events on our Facebook page.