September 30, 2005
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College will dedicate its teaching gallery in honor of William Green (1915-2005) at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 5. A reception and viewing of selections from a remarkable collection of some 2,500 prints will be held in the museum, to celebrate Green's connoisseurship as a collector and to recognize the generous gift of his Japanese woodblock prints to the permanent collection.
William Green began collecting ukiyo-e prints while stationed in Japan during the Korean War. His collection is noteworthy for its breadth of subject matter and formats, and contains representative works from almost all of the best-known ukiyo-e artists from the mid-18th to the late-19th century, including kabuki theater scenes and actor portraits, courtesans, warriors and battle scenes, children and sumo wrestlers as well as the erotic shunga prints, surimono and e-goyomi. In 1973, Green founded the Ukioy-e Society of America and served as its first president. He was the author of more than 20 articles on ukiyo-e prints and important collectors.
His collection, well known to a global community of scholars, was intended as an educational and research resource that he planned to keep intact. Although not an alumnus of Amherst College, he was impressed by the strength of its alumni support and its undergraduate teaching mission. In the '90s, Green made smaller gifts of prints to the Mead Art Museum with the intention of bequeathing the entire group. These yearly gifts formed the basis of three exhibitions, held in 1991, 1999 and 2004. He also donated his library, which includes many rare and archival reference works in the field, to the Robert Frost Library at Amherst College. In August of 2005, just weeks before his death on September 9, he made the gift of over 1,800 works still remaining at his home to the Mead Art Museum. This donation provides Amherst College with the largest collection of ukiyo-e prints in an academic museum.
The William Green Teaching Gallery is a multi-purpose gallery space where faculty and students can examine original works of art from the collection along with digital images or slides. It serves also as a prints study room with temporary installations of works on paper for curricular use.
The Mead Art Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Thursday evenings until 9 p.m. More information is available on the museum's website or by calling the Mead Art Museum at 413/542-2335. All events are free and open to the public.