June 6, 2018
Lyman Allyn Art Museum
Press Contact: Rebecca Marsie, Director of Communications
860.443.2545 x2112 / [email protected]


New London Noh Theatre in the Woodblock Prints of Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869 – 1927) explores the art of woodblock prints and the history, stories, and costumes of Japanese Noh Theatre at the turn of the 20th century. This special exhibition brings to the Lyman Allyn Art Museum over 50 Japanese color woodblock prints and features several Japanese Noh masks from the museum’s own collection. The exhibition will be on view June 16 through October 14, 2018.

Organized by independent curators Annemarie Sawkins, PhD and Martha Chaiklin, PhD, this traveling exhibition features prints from the private collection of Professors Richard J. and Mae J. Smethurst of the University of Pittsburgh, who have spent much of their academic careers teaching and writing about the classical theatre and history of Japan.

Noh is a Japanese performing art based on traditional court dances known as Bugaku, originally from China. It draws its material from many sources and its form from ritual and folk dances. The compelling power and beauty of Noh has influenced musicians, dramatists, and poets as diverse as Bertholt Brecht, Eugene O’Neill, Paul Claudel, William Butler Yeats, Benjamin Britten, and Ezra Pound, and has been recognized as a UNESCO World Theater form.

Artist Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869–1927) came of age in the Meji era (1868–1912), a period of modernization when Japan was opened to world trade after more than two hundred years of relative isolation. Kōgyo specialized in depictions of Noh, which until then had primarily been enjoyed by social elites. This changed at the end of the 19th century, however, when Noh theatre expanded in popularity and was embraced by the middle class. Tsukioka Kōgyo is the preeminent graphic artist of the Noh and Kyōgen theatres. For more than a third of a century–from the early-1890s until his premature death in 1927—Kōgyo created hundreds of paintings, prints, magazine illustrations, and postcard pictures of Noh and Kyōgen plays, as well as paintings and prints of flowers, birds, and genre and wartime scenes. Kōgyo’s numerous paintings were translated into series of woodblock prints, including Pictures of Noh (1897–1902), One Hundred Noh Dramas (1922–1926), and Encyclopedia of Noh plays (1925–1930).

This exhibition is supported by Toshiba International Foundation; Hendels, Inc; The Japan Foundation, New York; and the LaBoiteaux Family Foundation.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Lyman Allyn will host an intimate conversation with collectors Dr. Richard J. Smethurst & Dr. Mae J. Smethurst on Thursday, July 19 from 5:30 – 7:00 PM. The Smethursts will discuss their impressive collection of Japanese woodblock prints and how the drama and beauty of Noh theatre gained worldwide renown through depictions by artists like Tsukioka Kōgyo. Museum members are $5 and non-members are $10. Please RSVP to 860.443.2545 ext.2129.

A Japanese Woodblock Print Workshop instructed by artist Margot Rocklen will be held on Tuesday, September 25 from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Participants will gather in the studio for a full day workshop to learn the Japanese art of Mokuhanga, a richly colored, visually dynamic woodblock print technique. All materials are included and the cost is $30 per person. Please RSVP to 860.443.2545 ext.2129, space is limited.

The opening reception will be on Friday, June 15 from 5:00 – 7:00 PM. Museum members are free and non-members are $10.  Please RSVP to 860.443.2545 ext. 2129.

Check the museum website at and the museum’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram page for updates and additional programming.

Tours of the exhibition are available for groups. To schedule tours, call Director of Education Caitlin Healy at 860.443.2545 ext. 2110 or e-mail [email protected].

For more information or to request images, please contact Rebecca Marsie at 860.443.2545, ext. 2112 or at [email protected].

About the Lyman Allyn Art Museum
The Lyman Allyn Art Museum welcomes visitors from New London, southeastern Connecticut and all over the world. Established in 1926 by a gift from Harriet Allyn in memory of her seafaring father, the Museum opened the doors of its beautiful neo-classical building surrounded by 11 acres of green space in 1932. Today it presents a number of changing exhibitions each year and houses a fascinating collection of over 17,000 objects from ancient times to the present; artworks from Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe, with particularly strong collections of American paintings, decorative arts and Victorian toys and doll houses.

The museum is located at 625 Williams Street, New London, Connecticut, exit 83 off I-95. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sundays 1:00 – 5:00 pm; closed Mondays and major holidays. For more information call 860.443.2545, ext. 2129 or visit us on Facebook or the web at:

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