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About the Collector and the Collection

ABOUT FREDERICK HARRIS


The Frederick and Kazuko Harris Library Collection is a collection of art collected by and created by Frederick Harris (FH).  Aside from being a painter, FH was also an author, art professor, Korean War veteran, and American expatriate living in Tokyo, Japan. This collection represents art collected and created by FH in the span of forty years.


FH was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1932. From 1952 to 1953, FH served in the army in the Korean War. After fighting ceased, he was transferred to a base in Japan. There he met his wife Kazuko (KH) and married her in 1954. They returned to the United States where FH studied at the Herron Art Institute in Indiana, and the Art Center College in Los Angeles. The Art Center College asked him to remain as part of the faculty. In 1963, FH was working for a Los Angeles architecture firm that sent him to Japan to open an office. FH and KH moved to Japan permanently at that time. In the late 1960s, FH left the architecture firm to open his own interior design firm in Tokyo called The Design Studio.

 

While working as the president of the design firm, he continued painting. He had begun with oils and other opaque media, but felt he could not appropriately capture the Japan countryside with these paints, and switched to watercolor. Around 1977, a friend suggested he try sumi, a black Japanese ink. Sumi-e means "ink picture." Since that time, FH used both watercolors and sumi. FH has stated that the way he uses sumi is different from the traditional way of painting with it. One of the main differences is the use of shadows. FH traveled extensively for both work and pleasure, and artworks created by him and collected by him reflect this. He collected works from Japan, China, and Việt Nam, among other places.


FH's relationship with Ohio University (OU) began in 1994 when his friend and OU alumnus Robert Fallon (RF) suggested OU as the recipient of FH's collection of books. FH and KH donated thousands of books, many of them rare or out-of-print Asian art books. In 1996, FH came to OU to teach Japanese art in the School of Art. At that time, he also had an exhibit of his work at OU's Trisolini Gallery. In 1997, FH served on the Board of Directors for the Kennedy Museum, and OU granted him and Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts. Besides art books, FH and KH made several donations to the Ohio University Libraries, including a collection of Yao ceremonial artifacts. The final bequest, The Frederick and Kazuko Harris Library Collection, was received after FH's death in 2010.


ABOUT THE COLLECTION

 

The Frederick and Kazuko Harris Fine Arts Library in the Ohio University Libraries received the collection in March 2011 through bequest of Frederick Harris. The finding aid and item descriptions were written by Holly Deakyne, June 2012, using research and descriptions provided by Dr. Marion Lee, Prof. Brad Schwieger, Ms. Ayako Deguchi, Professor Tadashi Shiozawa (Chubu University), and graduate students Ben Stout, Bryce Brisco, Katharine Hammond.

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