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

Utagawa Toyokuni (Japanese, 1769–1825). The Actors Ichikawa Danzō IV and Iwai Kumesaburō I as Kawagoe no Tarō Shigeyori and Kyō no Kimi, 1800. Color woodcut. Chazen Museum of Art, Bequest of John H. Van Vleck, 1980.3168

March 21–June 15, 2008

Utagawa: Masters of the Japanese Print, 1770–1900 presents more than seventy prints from the renowned Van Vleck collection of Japanese woodblock prints at the Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin–Madison and approximately twenty prints from the Brooklyn Museum. 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, or “pictures of the floating world.” Colorful, technically innovative, and sometimes defiant of government regulations, these prints were created for a popular audience and documented the pleasures of urban life and leisure. The prints represent famous places, landscapes, warriors, and kabuki actors; they were reproduced in books, posters, and other printed materials for mass consumption, and they fed a thriving Edo publishing industry.

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 by Joan Cummins, Lisa and Bernard Selz Curator of Asian Art, Brooklyn Museum.

Utagawa: Masters of the Japanese Print, 17701900 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 E. Friedman-Kien Exhibition Fund, Joan B. Mirviss, Ltd., Scholten Japanese Art, and the Brooklyn Museum Asian Art Council.

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Exhibition Highlights

Utagawa Toyoharu: View of a Kabuki Theatre Utagawa Hiroshige II: A Picture of American Prosperity Utagawa Toyokuni: Color Woodcut Utagawa Kunisada: Color Woodcut Toyohara Kunichika: Color Woodcut Utagawa Hiroshige and Utagawa Kunisada: Night Garden

Multimedia Highlights
Video Blog

Exhibition Catalogue

Utagawa Exhibition Catalogue

Related Online Exhibition
100 Views of Edo