As a state-run museum the core of out collection has always been artists who lived or worked in New Mexico. However, visitors may be surprised to see that the museum owns work made by artists from all over the world. Since no one exists in isolation, artists can be influenced by cultures near and far. Locals are often familiar with the museum's collection of color woodblock prints by artists such as Gustave Baumann or Kate Krasin, but less so with our small but fascinating collection of Japanese prints that compliment them.
Whether the 17th-19th century ukiyo-e or its 20th century revival, Japanese prints have have been a source of inspiration to many Americans or European or Japanese descent. American fascination with Japanese culture during the 19th century was so prevalent the phenomenon is referred to by the French word Japonisme. Some Caucasian American artists such as Helen Hyde traveled to Japan to study the art and helped popularize it in the States. Hyde's work was first exhibited at this museum in 1924 and the museum owns several of her prints in addition to those made by artists of Japanese descent.