Friday October 4, 2013
Tags for: Cleveland Museum of Art Hires Curator of Japanese and Korean Art
  • Press Release

Cleveland Museum of Art Hires Curator of Japanese and Korean Art

exterior of the CMA building

Sinéad Vilbar will oversee the museum’s internationally recognized collection

For more information, please contact:
Saeko Yamamoto, 216-707-6898,
Caroline Guscott, 216-707-2261,

CLEVELAND (October 4, 2013) – The Cleveland Museum of Art announces the appointment of Sinéad Vilbar to the position of Curator of Japanese and Korean Art. In this role, Vilbar will be responsible for all aspects of the care, presentation and interpretation of the museum’s world-renowned collection of Japanese and Korean art as well as acquisitions to further enhance the museum’s collection. She will also oversee rotations in the museum’s Japanese and Korean permanent collection galleries, which opened in late June 2013. Vilbar will begin her work at the museum in early January 2014.

“We are excited to welcome Sinéad to the Cleveland Museum of Art,” said David Franklin, Sarah S. and Alexander M. Cutler director. “Over the coming years, we look forward to further enhancing our world-class collection and deepening our great international relationships with our museum partners in Japan and Korea.”

Vilbar is currently an assistant curator in the Department of Asian Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she focuses on the Japanese collection. During her time at the Metropolitan, she has organized a number of favorably reviewed exhibitions, including Sensitivity to the Seasons: Summer and Autumn in Japanese Art, 5,000 Years of Japanese Art: Treasures from the Harry Packard Collection and Japanese Mandalas: Emanations and Avatars. Prior to her appointment there in 2008, she served as Assistant Curator of Asian Art at the Princeton University Art Museum, where she was responsible for building the collections of Japanese and Korean art. Vilbar holds a master’s degree and PhD from Princeton and a bachelor’s degree from Yale College. Vilbar also studied at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to take on the responsibility of curating such outstanding collections,” said Vilbar. “At Cleveland, I can be part of bringing together a new generation of internationally active Japanese and Korean art historians who are working together to enhance the visitor experience in the museums in all of our respective countries.”

The museum’s collections of Japanese and Korean art rank among the finest in the United States. Highlights of the new Japanese gallery, which opened in June 2013, include the richly detailed screen, Arrival of the “Southern Barbarians” (about 1600); Flame-Style Storage Vessel (2,500 BC), which is taller than most of the known surviving examples; and a stunning Buddhist Tabernacle (late 1100s) created to house nearly 300 sutras (religious scrolls). The Korean gallery, made possible with the support of the Korean Foundation, features Arhat (Nahan) (1235), a hanging scroll that is one of only ten known fragments that survive today and the only one outside of Japan and Korea; a rare Storage Jar: Buncheong Ware (1400s); and The Seven Jeweled Peaks: Chilbo Mountains (1700s), a stunning true-view landscape painting.

On February 16, 2014, the museum will open Remaking Tradition: Modern Art of Japan. Featuring over 50 masterpieces of modern Japanese art from the Tokyo National Museum, the exhibition includes six objects designated ‘Important Cultural Properties of Japan,’ including Dancing Lady Maiko Girl by Kuroda Seiki and the iconic Portrait of Reiko by Kishida Ryusei as well as other important works in Japanese modern art history such as Mount Fuji Rising above Clouds by Yokoyama Taikan and Spring Rain by Shimomura Kanzan. To further cultural exchange and collaboration between the two institutions, the Tokyo National Museum will present Masterpieces from the Cleveland Museum of Art from January 15 to February 23, 2014, and will feature highlights of the Cleveland Japanese art collection. The most important works are from the Kamakura-Muromachi to the end of the Edo period, such as Dragon and Tiger by Sesson Shukei (a pair of folding screens). Also included in the exhibition are select works from the museum’s European collection. Masterpieces from the Cleveland Museum of Art will travel to the Kyushu National Museum from July 8 to August 31, 2014.

Contact the Museum's Media Relations Team:
(216) 707-2261