Vassar’s Museum Acquires Japanese Scroll Painting

Pasturing Horses by Soga Shohaku now on view

The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College’s art museum, recently made a major acquisition: Pasturing Horses, an 18th-century scroll painting by Japanese artist Soga Shohaku.

The painting is a key addition to the Art Center’s collection. James Mundy, the Anne Hendricks Bass director of the Art Center, said, “The size, quality and expression found in this work make it among the very best available.” Shohaku is one of the three key mid-Edo period painters in Kyoto known as “The Eccentrics.” The other two artists of this group, Ito Jakuchu and Nagasawa Rosetsu, are already represented in the center’s collection. The acquisition of this painting is “a capstone for the center’s Japanese collection,” Mundy added.

"Pasturing Horses" by Soga Shohaku

“Pasturing Horses” by Soga Shohaku (click to enlarge)

The painting became known to scholars in 2003 and has been exhibited two times, first in the Shohaku retrospective exhibition in April 2005 at the Kyoto National Museum. It was later included in the December 2005 exhibition Traditions Unbound, at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. It is currently on view at the Art Center and will remain so through mid-December, providing a rare opportunity for the public to see this major work.

Karen Hwang-Gold, assistant professor of art at Vassar, noted: “Using this single painting, one can teach a volume about Chinese Song, Yuan and Ming landscape and narrative painting, as well as Japanese narrative and landscape traditions from 10th and 15th centuries, respectively. It is a tremendous gift to our students and the community.”

Admission to the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center is free and all galleries are wheelchair accessible. The Art Center is open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. For additional information, call 845-437-5632 or visit

Photo courtesy of Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center

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