Hokusai and Japonisme

The ukiyo-e master of the late Edo period, Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), is an artist renowned and loved throughout the world. By studying European art styles entering Japan from the Netherlands via the island of Dejima, Hokusai acquired command of novel art techniques unknown in ukiyo-e and rose to popularity. As an artist who ceaselessly explored daring new directions, he created powerfully imaginative works that revolutionized Japanese art.


In the late 1850s, when Japan ended its seclusion policy and Westerners began visiting the country, many had already seen Hokusai’s works. This owed, above all, to his 15-volume Hokusai Manga collection of block-printed sketches, which was already in use as a source of illustrations for books about Japan. Western visitors purchased Hokusai’s ukiyo-e prints, art manuals, and illustrations as souvenirs and took large quantities of his work back to their countries, where it entered circulation in the local markets. Western interest in Japanese art was hardly limited to Hokusai, yet he enjoyed overwhelming popularity, along with Hiroshige.


Japanese art captured the admiration of Western artists pursuing innovative new styles of expression and, as a result, the "Japonisme" craze was born. Hokusai, among all Japanese artists, most frequently served as a reference for this style. Works of Japonisme sourced in his Hokusai Manga, One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji landscape picture book, and Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji woodblock prints appeared in great numbers.


Hokusai’s art had a dramatic impact, first, on the artists of Impressionism such as Monet, Degas, and Cézanne, and later on such Post-Impressionist artists as Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, and Les Nabis. Across the entire Western sphere—Germany, Australia, Spain, England, America, and Eastern and Northern Europe—Hokusai’s methods were explored and researched, and they gave momentum to new creation in painting, print art, sculpture, posters, and the decorative arts.


This exhibition will examine several aspects of Japonisme in 6 sections with the aim of showing how particular characteristics of Hokusai’s art contributed to the development of modern Western art. Some 220 works of Western art and some 40 color woodblock prints and 70 woodblock-printed books will be exhibited. (Some objects may be rotated during the exhibition period. Exhibition lineup may change as circumstances require.)

  • Overview of the Exhibition (PDF/154KB)
  • Exhibition Checklist(PDF/1MB)

Exhibition Period

21 October 2017 – 28 January 2018

Venue

The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

7-7, Ueno-Koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 110-0007, JAPAN
http://www.nmwa.go.jp/en/

Hours

9:30 - 17:30,

9:30-20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays except 18 November (9:30-17:30)

(Last entry 30 minutes before closing)

Closed

Mondays (Except 8 January) and 28 December - 1 January, 9 January

Organized by

The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nippon Television Network Corporation, BS Nippon Corporation

With the special sponsorship of

With the sponsorship of

Kao Corporation, Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc., Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd., TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, Mizuho Bank, Ltd., Mitsubishi Corporation

Curator of the exhibition

MABUCHI Akiko, Director of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

This exhibition is covered by the Japanese Act on the Indemnification of Damage to Works of Art in Exhibitions (Act No.17 of 2011)

Ticket

 

At the door

Group

Adults

1,600 yen

1,400 yen

College students

1,200 yen

1,000 yen

High school students

800 yen

600 yen

  • * Junior high school and younger children admitted free of charge.
  • * Group discount tickets: more than 20 persons.
  • * Disabled visitors admitted free of charge with one attendant. Please present your disability identification upon arrival.
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Direction

map

The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

7-7, Ueno-Koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 110-0007, JAPAN


  • JR Yamanote Line, 1 minute from Ueno Station, Park Exit
  • Keisei Line, 7minutes from Keisei Ueno Station
  • Ginza or Hibiya Subway Lines, 8 minutes from Ueno Station

Click here for Google Maps directions.


  • * There is no parking at the museum. Due to very limited parking availability near the NMWA, please use public transportation to access the museum.

Highlights

1

First ever exhibition!
"Hokusai and Japonisme"

First major exhibition that places Hokusai as the start point for Japonisme!

2

A perfect meeting that combines masterpieces from the West and from Hokusai!

Comparative display of Impressionist, Art Nouveau and other works alongside works by Hokusai

3

Collection of masterpieces from more than 10 countries

Works have been selected public and private collections from more than 10 countries around the world

Katsushika Hokusai / South Wind, Clear Dawn, from "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji"

About Katsushika Hokusai

1760-1849. Leading ukiyo-e artist from the latter part of the Edo period. He produced countless works during his 90-year long life, and he has influenced both Japan and the West. The woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji is his masterpiece that helped to establish the genre of ukiyo-e landscape paintings alongside Utagawa Hiroshige toward the end of the Edo period. In 1999, Hokusai was the only Japanese person featured in The 100 Most Important People of the Past 1000 Years (number 86) in the American magazine Life.


Katsushika Hokusai
South Wind, Clear Dawn, from "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji"
c. 1830-1833
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
MAK-Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/ Contemporary Art, Vienna
Photo: ©MAK / Georg Mayer

Major works

Monet

Monet owned more than 20 color woodblock prints by Hokusai. He often painted rows of poplar trees, but it was in Poplars in the Sun where he perfected the rhythm in his composition. The trees are lined up with a great sense of motion, which recalls the row of pine trees in Hokusai’s Hodogaya on the Tōkaidō, from the series "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji"

Claude Monet / Poplars in the Sun

Claude Monet
Poplars in the Sun
1891
Oil on canvas
The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Matsukata Collection

Katsushika Hokusai / Hodogaya on the Tōkaidō, from "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji"

Katsushika Hokusai
Hodogaya on the Tōkaidō, from "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji"
c. 1830-1833
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Minneapolis Institute of Art
Bequest of Richard P. Gale 74.1.237


Degas

For Degas, who was known as the painter of dancers, ballerinas were an important motif in the study of human form. His sense of inquiry was stimulated by the nonchalant movements in the poses performed by characters that appear in Hokusai Manga.

Edgar Degas / Dansers, Pink and Green

Edgar Degas
Dansers, Pink and Green
1894
Pastel on paper mounted on board
Yoshino Gypsum Co., Ltd. (Deposited at Yamagata Museum of Art)

Katsushika Hokusai / Hokusai Manga, vol. 11 (detail)

Katsushika Hokusai
Hokusai Manga, vol. 11 (detail)
1819
Woodblock printed book; ink and limited color on paper
Uragami Mitsuru Collection, Japan


Cézanne

Much like Hokusai’s Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji Cézanne made numerous paintings of Montagne Sainte-Victoire in the south of France from different perspectives. The composition of this Mont Sainte-Victoire puts the focus on the middle distance by positioning the mountain, which is the subject of the painting, in the background, and a row of trees in the foreground, as seen also in Fuji Seen from the Katakura Tea Plantation in the Province of Suruga, from "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji".

Paul Cézanne / Mont Sainte-Victoire

Paul Cézanne
Mont Sainte-Victoire
c. 1886-1887
Oil on canvas
Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

Katsushika Hokusai / Fuji Seen from the Katakura Tea Plantation in the Province of Suruga, from "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji"

Katsushika Hokusai
Fuji Seen from the Katakura Tea Plantation in the Province of Suruga, from "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji"
c. 1830-1833
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
MAK-Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/ Contemporary Art, Vienna
Photo: ©MAK / Georg Mayer


Van Gogh

Conventionally, still-life paintings in Europe featured flowers arranged in vases, but a close-up drawing of wild plants was something learned from Hokusai. Van Gogh expertly combines the background and the foreground.

Vincent van Gogh / Roses

Vincent van Gogh
Roses
1890
Oil on canvas
The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Matsukata Collection

Katsushika Hokusai / Peonies and Butterfly

Katsushika Hokusai
Peonies and Butterfly
c. 1831-1833
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Minneapolis Institute of Art
Bequest of Richard P. Gale 74.1.211
Photo: Minneapolis Institute of Art


Gauguin

Hokusai’s Three Styles of Drawing features a drawing of three puppies. Similarly, three flatly drawn, rotund puppies are also featured in an oil painting by Gauguin, who was greatly interested in ukiyo-e.

Paul Gauguin / Still Life with Three Puppies

Paul Gauguin
Still Life with Three Puppies
1888
Oil on woodboard
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund. Acc. n. : 48.1952.
DIGITAL IMAGE ©2017 The Museum of Modern Art / Scala, Florence

Katsushika Hokusai / Three Styles of Drawing

Katsushika Hokusai
Three Styles of Drawing (detail)
1816
Woodblock printed book; ink and limited color on paper
Uragami Mitsuru Collection, Japan


Cassatt

Even before knowing about Hokusai, Young girl was drawn with polite poses. Cassatt was drawing young girls with an expression of baredom, which are surely proof of the prevail of Hokusai Manga.

Mary Cassatt / Little Girl in a Blue Armchair

Mary Cassatt
Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
1878
Oil on canvas
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, 1983.1.18
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

Katsushika Hokusai / Hokusai Manga, vol. 1

Katsushika Hokusai
Hokusai Manga, vol. 1 (detail)
1814
Woodblock printed book; ink and limited color on paper
Uragami Mitsuru Collection, Japan