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Art of the genius that surprised the West

Hokusai and Japonisme


Japanese art including ukiyo-e paintings started to be exported overseas around the time when Japan was in the process of opening the country. Among them, the art of Hokusai Katsushika was especially welcomed with awe by the westerners for their unique expression. The exhibition “Hokusai and Japonisme” reveals the relationship between the western art and the works of Hokusai; and how they affected many of the painters and sculptors at the time in Europe.

hokusai_01Monet and van Gogh owned the works of Hokusai, and they must have been scrutinized them without getting bored. Monet’s “Poplars in the Sun” is thought to be painted while he was inspired by the line of pine trees painted in Hokusai’s “Hodogaya on the Tōkaidō, from “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji.” Van Gogh took up the method of painting wild plants in details, which was unusual motif for the painter at the time in Europe. Among the paintings by Degas, who made many images of dancers, there is one painting in which a dancer takes similar posture as the sumo wrestler in “Hokusai Manga.” The artists avidly studied the artistic expression of Hokusai, whose method was quite different from western one such as one point perspective; and they adopted Hokusai’s method to their works in various ways.

The exhibition presents the works of those Western artists side by side with Hokusai’s works that were the sources of their ideas. Visitors can enjoy the variations of expressions brought up by the meeting of arts across the ocean.

(Text: Naoko Aono)

Hokusai and Japonisme
Dates: October 21st (Sat), 2017 – January 28th (Sun), 2018 *Some of the works will be changed during the exhibition period
Venue: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo 7-7, Ueno-Koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Hours: 9:30-17:30 (-20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays except 11/18), closed on Mondays (Open on 1/8) and from 12/28/2017-1/1/2018 and 1/9.
Admission: Adults 1,600 yen
Inquiry: 03−5777−8600 (Hello Dial)

Katsushika Hokusai
Hodogaya on the Tōkaidō, from “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji”
c. 1830-1831
woodblock print; ink and color on paper, 25.7×37.8 cm
Minneapolis Institute of Art, Bequest of Richard P. Gale 74.1.237
Photo: Minneapolis Institute of Art

Claude Monet
Poplars in the Sun
oil on canvas, 93×73.5 cm
The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Matsukata Collection

Edgar Degas
Dancers, Pink and Green
pastel on paper, mounted on board, 66 x 47 cm
Yoshino Gypsum Co., Ltd.(deposited at Yamagata Museum of Art)

Katsushika Hokusai
Hokusai Manga, vol. 11 (detail)
date unknown
woodblock printed book; ink and limited color on paper, 22.8×15.8 cm
Uragami Mitsuru Collection, Tokyo


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