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  • Thumbnail for Evening Sight of Shrine Entrance
    Evening Sight of Shrine Entrance by D. Mori

    Signed D. Mori, 12 x 19†watercolor painting, no date, excellent condition. The style of this painting would seem to place it in the Meiji Period, but with an attribution of this importance, more research is clearly needed. A Meiji date is indicated by the overall soft tone of the painting and the way in which forms blend into one another. The painting is thus reminiscent of the work of famous Insho Domoto (1891-1975), an example of whose work is in Union College. The softness of the lines in the painting in Berea College is a feature that a number of American Art educators found of interest in Japanese painting of the Meiji period. One such was Arthur Wesley Dow (1857-1922) author of Composition, Understanding Line: Notan and Color. The term notan is Japanese and refers to a design concept in which softening the line equates negative and positive compositional space. Dr. Foster, Professor History at Berea College, informs me that Dow is connected to Berea College. In addition, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson are among the notable donors listed on the Berea College website. One does not normally think of these people as particularly involved with Japan, but all of them owned Ukiyo-e woodblock prints, these now in the collection of the Library of Congress. In addition, Francis S. Hutchins was President of Berea College from 1937 to 1967. Robert Hutchins (1899-1997) was President of the University of Chicago from 1929-1945 and Chancellor from 1945-1951. Robert Hutchins worked closely with programs such as “Great Ideas†originally created by William Rainey Harper I (1856-1906), who founded the school. Harper’s grandson Paul V. Harper (1915-2005) was Professor of Surgery and Radiology at the University of Chicago and taught Judo there. Indeed, Paul Harper’s wife, Phyllis, is recognized as one of the founders of women’s judo in this country. Thus, as Christine Guth has shown, there are sometimes surprising links between American intellectuals and Japan in the decades before WWI (see her: Longfellow’s Tattoos: Tourism, Collecting and Japan, University of Washington Press, 2004 and “Charles Longfellow and Okakura Kakuzo: Cultural Cross-Dressing in the Colonial Context,â€(Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique,Volume 8, Number 3, Winter 2000, pp. 605-636).