Philadelphia art curator to be honored by Japan

Felice Fischer said she loves her work, and to be recognized "by the government of Japan is thrilling."
Felice Fischer said she loves her work, and to be recognized "by the government of Japan is thrilling." (Inquirer filephotograph)
Posted: February 16, 2014

Felice Fischer, longtime curator of Japanese and east Asian art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, has been awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, by the government of Japan.

Ambassador Sumio Kusaka, consul general of Japan in New York, is scheduled to confer the distinction in an award ceremony to be held at the museum Tuesday.

Fischer, who joined the Art Museum in 1972, is being honored for her "lifetime achievement," Kusaka said in a statement.

"The Emperor of Japan honors Dr. Fischer as a recipient of an imperial decoration and one of the highest civilian honors in recognition of her lifetime achievement and commitment to excellence, particularly including significant contributions to mutual understanding and friendship between the United States and Japan," Kusaka said.

Museum director Timothy Rub said "this great honor is a credit to Felice's long-standing dedication to cross-cultural engagement, to her study and appreciation of Japanese art, and to Philadelphia."

Fischer first became fascinated by Japan through Japanese friends she made growing up in New York City. That emotional interest broadened into an intellectual engagement during her years as a Barnard College undergraduate.

Fischer has authored several books and organized more than 30 exhibitions, including "Ike Taiga and Tokuyama Gyokuran: Japanese Masters of the Brush" (2007, with Dr. Kyoko Kinoshita). The catalogue for that exhibition received the 2008 Art Book Award from the Association of Art Historians in Great Britain. She is currently at work on an exhibition scheduled for 2015, "Ink and Gold, Art of the Kano."

"It's been a wonderful voyage, full of wonderful people and wonderful exhibitions and wonderful opportunities," she said. "I did it because I loved doing it. But to have it recognized and acknowledged in this way by the government of Japan is thrilling."



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