Jesse and Nellie Shwayder Galleries, William Sharpless Jackson Jr. Gallery, Walter + Mona Lutz Gallery & Bj Averitt Gallery, Level 5, North Building
The Denver Art Museum's Asian art collection originated in 1915 with a donation of Chinese and Japanese art objects from a single passionate collector and has broadened to include works from the entire Asian continent. Spanning a period from the fourth millennium B.C. to the present, these objects illustrate the wide-ranging achievements of Asian artists and artisans.
The William Sharpless Jackson Jr. Gallery provides visitors with the opportunity to explore particular aspects of Asian art in greater depth. It features changing exhibitions drawn from the museum's extensive holdings and guest exhibitions from other Asian art collections.
Displays of bamboo art from China, Japan, and Korea are shown in the Walter + Mona Lutz Gallery, a space dedicated exclusively for artwork made of bamboo. The Lutz Bamboo Collection became a family love affair, and the Denver Art Museum is the fortunate recipient of more than 900 gifts from three generations of the Lutz family—Walter and Mona, Tina and Michael Chow, Adelle Lutz and David Byrne, China Chow, Maximilian Chow, and Malu Byrne.
The Bj Averitt Gallery features art from Southwest Asia, including examples from the Anatolian and Arabian peninsulas, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia. Objects in the gallery represent many millennia of art, beginning with the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, and following the flourishing and growth of Islam to the present day. Regions where this culture spread, such as Africa, Southern Europe, and Southeast Asia, also are represented.
Select publications by or about the Asian art department include:
- Xu Beihong: Pioneer of Modern Chinese Painting. Ronald Y. Otsuka and Fangfang Xu. Denver Art Museum, 2011.
- Full Frontal: Contemporary Asian Artists from the Logan Collection. Ronald Y. Otsuka, Tom J. Whitten, and Kent Logan. Denver Art Museum, 2003.
- Adornment for Eternity: Status and Rank in Chinese Ornament. Julie M. White, Emma C. Bunker, and Chen Peifen. Denver Art Museum in association with the Woods Publishing Company, 1994.
- Pathways to the Afterlife: Early Chinese Art from the Sze Hong Collection. Julia M. White and Ronald Y. Otsuka. Denver Art Museum in association with University of Hawaii Press, 1993.
In 1915 Walter C. Mead pledged his Asian art collection to the people of Denver in 1915 and prompted the Denver Art Museum to include Asian art in its representation of world art. The Mead Collection was first exhibited at the Denver Museum of Natural History and transferred to the Denver Art Museum's new galleries in the Denver City and County Building in 1932–33. In 1937, Mead sold the remainder of his collection—-including several thousand Asian art objects—to the Denver Art Museum for the nominal sum of one dollar. Beginning in 1946, a series of gifts from Harry B. Goodwin and his wife, Mary Guthrie Goodwin helped establish the museum's collection of South and Southeast Asian art.
- Tianlong Jiao, Joseph de Heer Curator of Asian Art
- Douglas R. Wagner, Curatorial Assistant
- Patty Williams, Interpretive Specialist
- Beverly Little, Curator's Circle Coordinator
- Chelsea Finical, Provenance Research Assistant
- Ronald Y. Otsuka, Curator Emeritus, Dr. Joseph de Heer Curator of Asian Art 1973-2014