Exhibitions: Utagawa: Masters of the Japanese Print, 1770–1900

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    Utagawa: Masters of the Japanese Print, 1770–1900

    • Dates: March 21, 2008 through June 15, 2008
    • Collections: Asian Art
    • Location: This exhibition is no longer on view in Robert E. Blum Gallery, 1st Floor
    • Description: Utagawa: Masters of the Japanese Print, 1770-1900. [03/14/2008 - 06/15/2008]. Installation view.
    • Citation: Brooklyn Museum Digital Collections and Services. Records of the Department of Digital Collections and Services. (DIG_E_2008_Utagawa)
    • Source: born digital
    • Related Links: Main Exhibition Page
    Press Releases ?
    • December 2007: Utagawa: Masters of the Japanese Print, 1770–1900, on view at the Brooklyn Museum from March 21 through June 15, 2008, will present 95 Japanese woodblock prints by more than 15 artists, among them Utagawa Hiroshige, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, and Tsukioka Yoshitoshi. The exhibition is drawn from the holdings of the Chazen Museum of Art’s renowned Van Vleck collection and is augmented by 22 woodblock prints from the Brooklyn Museum’s Asian art collection.

      The Utagawa School, founded by Utagawa Toyoharu, dominated the Japanese print market in the nineteenth century and is responsible for more than half of all surviving Ukiyo-e prints. These prolific artists created a thriving print publishing industry by mass-producing their prints for the general public. Created in a climate of strict censorship and fierce creative competition, the woodblock prints are both technically sophisticated and broadly appealing.

      Ukiyo-e originated in Edo, present-day Tokyo, during the Shogunate era, when Japan was isolated from the rest of the world. Literally meaning “pictures of the floating world”, the Ukiyo-e genre closely examines the pleasures of Kabuki theatres, teahouses, and the lives of geishas and courtesans. Colorful, innovative, and sometimes defiant of government regulations, the Ukiyo-e prints were created for a popular audience and documented themes of leisure and entertainment: familiar landscapes, portraits of beautiful women, Kabuki actors, and erotica.

      Although the Utagawa artists paid homage to aspects of classical Japanese culture, their subject was first and foremost the modern world, ranging from portraits of the famous beautiful women of the pleasure quarters to images of Kabuki actors caught mid performance. Every artist from the Utagawa School made at least a few erotic prints. Even though these images were at times prohibited by the government, they were always in demand. Less controversial subjects, such as landscape, were modernized by the Utagawa artists, who presented views of well-known urban and suburban locations instead of the more dramatic, remote sites depicted by earlier artists.

      Utagawa presents these themes through a vast selection of prints such as Utagawa Toyokuni’s six-sheet print capturing the fireworks at Ryogoku Bridge, a highly detailed image crowded with spectators; Utagawa Kunisada’s triptych of three elegant courtesans walking through the snow while gracefully holding umbrellas; and Toyohara Kunichika’s print of Kabuki actor Ichikawa Sadanjii dramatically posed with his sword in front of a burning courtyard. This exhibition also includes an expansive view of the Nihon Bridge by Utagawa Toyohiro and a sophisticated view of Mount Fuji from the Sea of Satta by Toyohiro’s better-known student, Utagawa Hiroshige.

      This exhibition has been organized by Laura Mueller, Van Vleck Curatorial Intern, Chazen Museum of Art, and Doctoral Candidate, Japanese Art History, University of Wisconsin–Madison. The Brooklyn Museum’s presentation has been coordinated and enhanced with the addition of works from Brooklyn’s collection by  Joan Cummins, Lisa and Bernard Selz Curator of Asian Art, Brooklyn Museum.

      A full-color catalogue published by The Chazen Museum of Art and Hotei Publishing of Amsterdam will accompany the exhibition. It will include five essays by an international team of scholars.

      View Original

    • March 2008: Utagawa: Masters of the Japanese Print, 1770–1900, on view at the Brooklyn Museum from March 21 through June 15, 2008, will present 95 Japanese woodblock prints by more than 15 artists, among them Utagawa Hiroshige, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, and Tsukioka Yoshitoshi. The exhibition is drawn from the holdings of the Chazen Museum of Art’s renowned Van Vleck collection and is augmented by 22 woodblock prints from the Brooklyn Museum’s Asian art collection.

      The Utagawa School, founded by Utagawa Toyoharu, dominated the Japanese print market in the nineteenth century and is responsible for more than half of all surviving Ukiyo-e prints. These prolific artists created a thriving print publishing industry by mass-producing their prints for the general public. Created in a climate of strict censorship and fierce creative competition, the woodblock prints are both technically sophisticated and broadly appealing.

      Ukiyo-e originated in Edo, present-day Tokyo, during the Shogunate era, when Japan was isolated from the rest of the world. Literally meaning “pictures of the floating world”, the Ukiyo-e genre closely examines the pleasures of Kabuki theatres, teahouses, and the lives of geishas and courtesans. Colorful, innovative, and sometimes defiant of government regulations, the Ukiyo-e prints were created for a popular audience and documented themes of leisure and entertainment: familiar landscapes, portraits of beautiful women, Kabuki actors, and erotica.

      Although the Utagawa artists paid homage to aspects of classical Japanese culture, their subject was first and foremost the modern world, ranging from portraits of the famous beautiful women of the pleasure quarters to images of Kabuki actors caught mid performance. Every artist from the Utagawa School made at least a few erotic prints. Even though these images were at times prohibited by the government, they were always in demand. Less controversial subjects, such as landscape, were modernized by the Utagawa artists, who presented views of well-known urban and suburban locations instead of the more dramatic, remote sites depicted by earlier artists.

      Utagawa presents these themes through a vast selection of prints such as Utagawa Toyokuni’s six-sheet print capturing the fireworks at Ryogoku Bridge, a highly detailed image crowded with spectators; Utagawa Kunisada’s triptych of three elegant courtesans walking through the snow while gracefully holding umbrellas; and Toyohara Kunichika’s print of Kabuki actor Ichikawa Sadanjii dramatically posed with his sword in front of a burning courtyard. This exhibition also includes an expansive view of the Nihon Bridge by Utagawa Toyohiro and a sophisticated view of Mount Fuji from the Sea of Satta by Toyohiro’s better-known student, Utagawa Hiroshige.

      This exhibition has been organized by Laura Mueller, Van Vleck Curatorial Intern, Chazen Museum of Art, and Doctoral Candidate, Japanese Art History, University of Wisconsin–Madison. The Brooklyn Museum’s presentation has been coordinated and enhanced with the addition of works from Brooklyn’s collection by Joan Cummins, Lisa and Bernard Selz Curator of Asian Art, Brooklyn Museum.

      A full-color catalogue published by The Chazen Museum of Art and Hotei Publishing of Amsterdam will accompany the exhibition. It will include five essays by an international team of scholars.

      Utagawa: Masters of the Japanese Print, 1770–1900
      is organized by the Chazen Museum of Art, University
      of Wisconsin-Madison.

      The exhibition is supported in part by National Grid. Additional support is provided by the Alvin Friedman-Kien Exhibition Fund, Scholten Japanese Art and the Brooklyn Museum Asian Art Council.

      View Original

    Press Coverage of this Exhibition ?

    • ARTMarch 16, 2008 "Art Robin Pogrebin The Japanese print market of the 19th century was dominated by the Utagawa school, founded by Utagawa Toyoharu, and is responsible for more than half of all surviving Ukiyo-e (''floating world'') prints. On Friday the BROOKLYN MUSEUM opens an exhibition of these prints, which were created for a popular audience and represent..."
    • ART REVIEW; Fleeting Pleasures of Life In Vibrant Woodcut PrintsMarch 22, 2008 By KEN JOHNSONKen Johnson reviews Japanese print exhibit at Brooklyn Museum; photos (M)
    • ArtMarch 28, 2008 "ART Museums and galleries are in Manhattan unless otherwise noted. Full reviews of recent art shows: nytimes.com/art. Museums ASIA SOCIETY AND MUSEUM: 'DESIGNED FOR PLEASURE: THE WORLD OF EDO JAPAN IN PRINTS AND PAINTINGS, 1680-1860,' through May 4. Organized by the Japanese Art Society, this show anchors the ''floating world'' of ukiyo-e prints..."
    • Museum and Gallery ListingsApril 4, 2008 By THE NEW YORK TIMES"ART Museums and galleries are in Manhattan unless otherwise noted. Full reviews of recent art shows: nytimes.com/art. ASHLEY BICKERTON This artist's blisteringly vivid new works look as if they were collaboratively hallucinated by Joseph Conrad and Hunter S. Thompson during an all-night psychedelic drug binge. In colorful digital photographs..."
    • Museum and Gallery ListingsApril 11, 2008 By THE NEW YORK TIMES"ART Museums and galleries are in Manhattan unless otherwise noted. Full reviews of recent art shows: nytimes.com/art. Museums ASIA SOCIETY AND MUSEUM: 'DESIGNED FOR PLEASURE: THE WORLD OF EDO JAPAN IN PRINTS AND PAINTINGS, 1680-1860,' through May 4. Organized by the Japanese Art Society, this show anchors the ''floating world'' of ukiyo-e prints..."
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