Star-Bulletin Features

Sunday, January 6, 2002



"Beauties of the Four Seasons: Catching Fireflies" is one of a set of four prints depicting the seasons.

Michener display
opens Thursday

His Japanese woodblock prints
find a permanent home

A passion for prints

Star-Bulletin Staff

The story of how the Honolulu Academy of Arts ended up with the incomparable James Michener's collection of 5,400 Japanese woodblock prints has been told countless times. Here it is, one more time.

The famed writer and his wife, Mari, lived in Honolulu in the late 1950s while he completed his epic novel "Hawaii." The Micheners had intended the collection to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, but while on his way to sign over the collection, Michener met with a surly policeman who hassled him over parking and issued him a ticket.

"Seven Beauties Applying Makeup" is one of the most famous prints from the James Michener collection.

Years later, a friendly Honolulu policeman -- not knowing who Michener was -- helped direct him to a parking space near the academy. The "aloha spirit" helped cement Michener's decision to donate the prints to the academy, whose officials have had a long and friendly association with him.

With a newly dedicated gallery in the Asian Wing, the academy is honoring the gift with a permanent home that will feature his prints in rotating exhibits. The first exhibit, "James A. Michener's Favorite Prints" opens Thursday and continues through April 10. Many of the prints will be exhibited with Michener's personal, anecdotal and often humorous comments.

This Japanese woodblock print from 1791 is part of author James Michener's famed collection.

The hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. General admission is $7; seniors, students and military pay $4. Children and academy members are admitted free, and free general admission is offered on first Wednesday of each month. Call 532-8700 for more information.

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