‹ Past Exhibitions

Quiet Beauty: 50 Centuries of Japanese Folk Ceramics from the Montgomery Collection

Produced primarily for everyday use by farmers, artisans, and merchants, the ceramics in this exhibition are astonishing for their variety and profound aesthetic impact. Pieces spanning nearly five thousand years were chosen to display the harmonious combination of form, color, and texture that has brought Japanese pottery its worldwide renown. The first exhibition outside of Japan to explore such a broad range of production, Quiet Beauty surveys technical and artistic developments in folk art ceramics made between about 3000 BC and about 1990. The exhibition encompasses prehistoric beakers; medieval storage jars; bowls, bottles, and plates from many eras and localities; and late-twentieth century creations based on traditional forms. The objects are arranged in chronological order and grouped by region of production to help elucidate the story of Japanese folk ceramics.

Over a number of years, Jeffrey Montgomery has gone from buying a single object for its sculptural dynamism to assembling one of the most comprehensive collections of the Japanese arts of daily life outside Japan. Including objects of practically every medium and type, the Montgomery Collection is particularly regarded for the high quality of individual examples. Its richness in ceramics enables Quiet Beauty: Fifty Centuries of Japanese Folk Ceramics from the Montgomery Collection to present a compelling overview of one of the world’s great pottery traditions and a celebration of form and function in utilitarian objects. The exhibition includes one hundred ceramics in the Japanese folk tradition, including one example of an influential variety of Chinese porcelain and some Okinawan work that influenced the tradition, and three pieces made by British or American potters affiliated with it.

This exhibition is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia.

The national tour has been sponsored by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the Drs. Ben and A. Jess Shenson Foundation, the Mitsubishi International Corporation, and the Toshiba International Foundation.