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   from the issue of August 24, 2006

'Alice's House' to open at Lentz Center

"Alice's House: Chinese and Japanese Art from the Collection of Alice V. Abel" will open Sept. 9 and will run through Dec. 22 at the Lentz Center for Asian Culture.

ON DISPLAY - This figure from 19th century Japan, made of gilded camphor wood and red lacquer, is on loan to...
ON DISPLAY - This figure from 19th century Japan, made of gilded camphor wood and red lacquer, is on loan to the Lentz Center from the collection of Alice Abel.

An opening party will celebrate Abel's collection and the Lentz Center's 20th anniversary. The party is in the center from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Sept. 10. Brief remarks will be made at 2:30. The public is invited.

A well-known Lincoln resident and distinguished NU graduate (class of 1946), Abel was a philanthropist with many contributions and honors, including being a board member of the University of Nebraska Foundation and chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Nebraska Wesleyan University. Among her gifts to the city are Hazel Abel Park and the Alice Abel Arboretum at Nebraska Wesleyan. She died in March 2005.

Abel was also an enthusiastic collector of Asian art and decorated her entire West Coast home with Chinese and Japanese art.

"We at the Lentz Center are very fortunate to have been loaned 22 items from her collection," said Barbara Banks, curator/director of the Lentz Center. "The Lentz Center will celebrate its 20th anniversary in September and we have purposely chosen this time to show Alice Abel's collection. Her collection demonstrates her devotion to Asian art. In the tradition of Don and Velma Lentz, she has been willing to share her collection with the public."

The Lentzes were both musicians and began their collecting with musical instruments. Abel lent a 17th-18th century Japanese koto, a stringed instrument, to the center to enhance its substantial collection of musical instruments. Velma Lentz was able to see and admire the koto before she died last spring.

"There is great variety in the items that we have on loan from Miss Abel," Banks said. "One of the most striking is a 10-foot by 6-foot cut silk velvet wall hanging with a chrysanthemum pattern. An 18th-century ewer made of cloisonne is a fine piece with the five clawed dragon handle, a symbol of the emperor. A bit of Ms. Abel's living room will be recreated in the show with a large wooden screen with carvings in ivory and hardstones. On either side will be Japanese champleve enamel torcheres. There will be other interesting objects as well."

The Lentz Center is located in the lower level of the Hewit Place building, across from the Lied Center for Performing Arts. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 1:30 to 4 p.m. Sundays. For more information, go online to



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