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MIA Named as Japanese Art Gift Recipient

June 9, 2006—Mary Griggs Burke and the Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation have stated their intention to give a significant portion of their renowned collection of Japanese art to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA). The Burke collection is recognized as the world’s most important and comprehensive private collection of Japanese art outside Japan. With objects spanning 4,000 years of Japanese art history, the collection is noted for its great depth and breadth.

“This is the kind of gift of which most museums can only dream. We are enormously grateful to Mrs. Burke and the Foundation for their vision, commitment and generosity. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts will become one of the principal repositories of Japanese art in this country,” said William Griswold, director and president of the MIA.

The MIA is now celebrating the opening of a new, 113,000-square-foot wing designed by renowned architect Michael Graves. The relocation of the museum’s library to the new wing opened up nearly 4,400 square feet of space contiguous to the present Japanese galleries. The decision to expand the display of Japanese art into this space comes closely on the heels of the 1998 museum-wide expansion when Japan gained some 6,000 square feet. The present galleries now encompass nearly 12,400 square feet, making it one of the largest displays of Japanese art in the United States. In addition to sheer square footage, the museum commissioned a traditional Japanese architectural firm to build a formal audience hall and a teahouse in 2001. These rooms provide a sympathetic setting for important objects from the permanent collection. The commissioning of these rooms, and the present expansion, resoundingly communicates the museum’s strong commitment to Japanese art.

“Our expanded permanent installation for Japanese Art—from nine to fifteen galleries—provides visitors with an extremely strong overview of Japan’s aesthetic achievements. A significant gift of objects from the Burke collection will greatly enhance our display, and will provide for the possibility of frequent rotations and specialized exhibitions. Mrs. Burke is a collector’s collector, blessed with her own discriminating eyes, but also wisely advised in amassing her remarkable collection. Since our 1998 expansion we have depended on Mrs. Burke’s generosity through frequent loans. The importance of this gift cannot be overstated, and in recognition of Mrs. Burke’s intention, all fifteen rooms have been designated as the Mary Griggs Burke Galleries of Japanese Art,” said Dr. Matthew Welch, curator of Japanese and Korean art at the MIA.

Included in the MIA’s grand opening installation are fifty-five objects on loan from the Burke Collection. The objects will be on view, on a rotational basis, through December 3, 2006.
Image: Flock of Cranes, Ishida Yutei (1721-86), Japan, Edo Period (1615-1868), Pair of folding screens; ink, gold and colors on gilded paper

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