Home > Research > Museum Research > Staff

Louise Cort

Curator of Ceramics


Louise Cort is curator for ceramics at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Her interests include historical and contemporary ceramics in Japan, Southeast Asia, and South Asia; Japanese baskets and textiles; and chanoyu in Japan. 

She is the author of Shigaraki, Potters’ Valley, published in 1979 and reprinted in 2000. In 2008 she prepared (with George Ashley Williams IV and David P. Rehfuss) the online catalogue Ceramics in Mainland Southeast Asia: Collections in the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Her research on earthenware in India was published as  Temple Potters of Puri (with Purna Chandra Mishra, 2012).

Her other book-length publications include Isamu Noguchi and Modern Japanese Ceramics: A Close Embrace of the Earth (with Bert Winther-Tamaki, 2003), Asian Traditions in Clay (with Ann Gunter and Massumeh Farhad, 2000), A Basketmaker in Rural Japan (with Nakamura Kenji, 1995), Joined Colors: Decoration and Meaning in Chinese Porcelain (with Jan Stuart, 1994), and Seto and Mino Ceramics (1992). She was organizer and principle author for Korean Art in the Freer and Sackler Galleries (2013). With Andrew Watsky, she prepared the book and exhibition, Chigusa and the Art of Tea (2014) on the story of the tea-leaf storage jar named Chigusa acquired by the Freer Gallery.

In 2012 she received the thirty-third Koyama Fujio Memorial Prize for her research on historical and contemporary Japanese ceramics, and the Secretary’s Distinguished Research Lecture Award, Smithsonian Institution.


As renovation work continues in the Freer Gallery, the Sackler Gallery also will close on July 10, 2017. This museum-wide closure will allow us to completely reinstall our exhibitions and revitalize features to improve your visit. Both spaces will reopen on October 14, 2017, when we will welcome the public back to the Freer|Sackler: two galleries, one destination. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.