Arts & Culture

Pax Tokugawa exhibition honors beloved professor Dr. Robert Steen

The Oglethorpe University Museum of Art has announced their new exhibition for the spring semester: “Pax Tokugawa: The Japanese Collections of OUMA.”

This exhibit, which showcases the rich collection of Japanese art in OUMA’s permanent collection, will honor the late Dr. Robert Steen, professor of Japanese.

“Pax Tokugawa” will focus on the Japanese Edo period of 1603-1867, considered a time of growth, peace and stability under the last traditional shogunate founded by Tokugawa Ieyasu. During this time, urban populations enjoyed unprecedented leisure time, which was used to explore art, music and poetry. The Edo period saw the popularization of well-known art forms like kabuki theatre, geishas and woodblock prints (called ukiyo-e).

The core works of this concentration in Japanese art are drawn from the collection of porcelain of the late John Lesh Jacobs ’23, which was donated by his daughter, Ms. Carrie Lee Jacobs Henderson, granddaughter of former OU President Thornwell Jacobs. Additional key works of Japanese sculpture, porcelain, paintings and works on paper have been donated to OUMA by patrons and neighbors, Mrs. Billie Lou Hance, Ms. Ellen Stein, Mr. Roderick Hardy and Ms. Miryam Relis. Masterful 19th-century Japanese woodblock prints have also been donated to OUMA in memory of OU Professor Ronald Carlisle.

Dr. Robert Steen

Dr. Robert Steen

Dr. Robert Steen was a beloved member of the Oglethorpe community. As a Professor of Japanese, he was passionate about teaching a love for poetry, art and literature.

“This exhibit is not only one of Dr. Steen’s favorite eras in Japanese history,” says Museum Director Elizabeth Peterson, “but is also serves to represent who he was as a person — kind and gentle.”

This exhibit is now available through an virtual tour of the museum. It will run into the fall semester, when an in-person commemoration of Dr. Steen will be held on campus.

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