Fred Harris’ Legacy

The late Fred Harris, an internationally recognized American painter and art collector, left a lasting impression on the Ohio University Libraries. Harris’ most recent donations, his sumi-e paintings and sketchbooks, will be on exhibit April 27th through December 2012 in the Frederick and Kazuko Harris Fine Arts Library on the third floor of Alden Library.

The legacy of Harris’ donations has grown over the years. Beginning in 1994, Fred and Kazuko Harris gave to the Ohio University Libraries their extraordinary art book collection. Harris was deeply impressed by the Libraries’ staff and their love for fine art books. “I’ve been collecting books all of my life,” said Harris, “so I can sense that devotion.”

Today, the Frederick and Kazuko Harris Fine Arts Library Collection also includes donations of his accomplished works in watercolor and sumi-e paintings, as well as his collected works of art from masters in ceramics and other mediums amassed during his fifty-year residency in Japan.

Some of those ceramics and other mediums were recently shown in a workshop titled, “Interpreting Visual Objects in the Harris Collection: Studio Practice, Art History, Linguistics and Ethnography.”  The workshop, a collaboration between Ohio University Libraries, the Linguistics Department and the School of Art, was designed to foster interdisciplinary dialog amongst faculty, students and researchers alike.

In 2010, Fred Harris promised in his book, “Ukiyo-e: The Art of the Japanese Print,” to “take the reader on a journey…” And so he has. From his intuitive perceptions as a working artist, to his sensitivity as an art collector and his depth of understanding as a writer– the Frederick and Kazuko Harris Collection is the culmination of his lifelong commitment to the world of art.

Read more about OHIO’s graduate student involvement with the Harris collection.

Photo by Patrick Traylor

This sumi-e painting by Frederick Harris provides only a tiny glimmer of the mountainous beauty in his remarkable collection.