The University of Oregon’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art Reopens The Soreng Gallery of Chinese Art

“Myriad Treasures: Celebrating the Reinstallation of the Soreng Gallery of Chinese Art” is now on view


EUGENE, Ore. – (February 26, 2020) – After a long-awaited renovation, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon reopens its Soreng Gallery of Chinese Art with over 100 works spanning over four millennia of Chinese history from the legacy collection of museum-founder Gertrude Bass Warner (1863-1951) and selected recent acquisitions.


“This installation features a selection of the most breathtaking works in our historical Chinese collection, shown alongside stunning, thought-provoking works from the 20th and 21st century. It offers great opportunities for faculty academic use and student study of the arts of China and strengthens the JSMA’s ability to engage both K-12 and university students,” says John Weber, JSMA executive director.


The inaugural display includes examples of the museum’s superlative Qing-dynasty (1644-1912) court textiles, Neolithic through nineteenth-century ceramics, ancient and archaistic bronze vessels, Buddhist art, literati and professional paintings and prints of the fourteenth through nineteenth centuries, imperial calligraphy, elegant decorative objects made of jade, glass, and crystal, and selected modern and contemporary Chinese paintings, posters, and photographs.


Thanks to generous support from Betty Soreng and other anonymous donors, the museum was able to update the gallery floor, walls, casework, and lighting. All of the benefactors who made this renovation possible care deeply about the academic mission of the JSMA.


“We are so happy and grateful to finally have displays worthy of our world-class Chinese collection,” says Anne Rose Kitagawa, chief curator of collections, Asian art, and academic support. “The recent renovation makes it possible to show these important and beautiful artworks to great advantage and will enhance our visitors’ appreciation of 5,000 years of Chinese cultural achievement. We are deeply indebted to everyone who made this possible.”


Arts from Asia were the foundation of the JSMA’s collection thanks to founder Gertrude Bass Warner. After she was divorced in Chicago in 1903, she settled in Shanghai, where she remarried and amassed an Asian art collection of remarkable quality, complexity, and depth. Years later, she relocated to Eugene, where her son taught at UO’s School of Law. There she was inspired by the university’s academic mission to found the museum and donate her vast collection in her late husband’s memory with the hope of fostering cross-cultural understanding and contributing to world peace. When the University of Oregon Museum of Art opened in 1933, Warner dedicated the largest gallery to the display of Chinese art, a space that was lovingly referred to as the “Throne Room.”


Ten exquisite traditional Chinese textiles are featured in the new installation, ranging from imperial status garments to elegant women’s robes to richly embroidered military banners.  One robe depicts the time-honored theme of One Hundred Children, connoting the wearer’s wish for prosperity.  These and other textiles from the JSMA collection were the subject of UO History Professor Ina Asim’s recent Mellon grant-funded digital exhibition, The Artful Fabric of Collecting (see


The JSMA’s splendid new casework made it possible to safely and attractively display examples from the museum’s distinguished collection of Chinese paintings, including one of the most beautiful Buddhist scrolls in the United States (which depicts Bhaiṣajyaguru, the Medicine Buddha) plus major Ming-dynasty (1368-1644) landscapes. 


Examples from two recent gifts of large contemporary art collections – one from cutting-edge Chinese photography collectors Jack and Susy Wadsworth, and the other of mixed-media works by Hung Liu from the artist and her late collaborator, master printer David Salgado, augment the museum’s core collection of traditional Chinese art and point toward the future


Contact: Debbie Williamson Smith, 541-346-0942,

Links: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art,