The Freer Gallery of Art of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., renowned for its superb collection of Japanese Art, has remained unknown among many people here in Japan due to the museum policy of not lending its holdings to outside institutions. Hereupon, in cooperation with the Freer Gallery of Art, the Tsuzuri project, organized by Kyoto Culture Association and Canon, reproduced 13 paintings selected from the Freer’s collection of Hokusai paintings, which is the world’s finest and the largest of its kind. This time the Sumida Hokusai Museum will hold an exhibition focusing on those high-resolution facsimiles, together with about 130 related works out of their own collection. The exhibition juxtaposes facsimiles, created using the most advanced digital techniques, and actual works by Hokusai. By offering an opportunity to study the Six Tama Rivers, a pair of six-fold screens, and comparisons of Hokusai’s styles of rendering waves in his painting Breaking Waves and a woodblock print Under the Wave off Kanagawa, from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, this exhibition will unveil the essence of Hokusai’s art.
Edo Livelihoods by Hokusai presents works from our collection by Hokusai and his students that depict the many ways people made their living in Edo. Their livelihoods include types of work that are no longer familiar as well others that are the roots of commerce today. Hokusai portrayed people engaged in many kinds of work. Indeed, Hokusai’s brush, which painted a multitude of subjects, vividly communicates how people worked in his day.
This exhibition is organized in six sections: 1. Selling Things, 2. Harvesting the Blessings of Nature, 3. Giving People Pleasure, 4. Transporting Things, 5. Making Things, and 6. Miscellaneous Livelihoods. The first section introduces a variety of merchants, including peddlers and bear balm vendors. The second introduces fishermen, loggers, and others whose work consists of harvesting resources from the natural world. The third section introduces the Edo's entertainer such as Kabuki actors and street performers. The fourth section addresses the transport industry, with its express messengers, sedan-chair bearers, and others. The fifth section presents coopers, painters, and other Edo artisans. The sixth section introduces a miscellany, from physicians to waste paper buyers.
Focusing on everyday work brings the nature of society into view. Understanding the scenes depicted in his work enables Hokusai’s images to speak to us in greater detail about the lifestyles of people in Hokusai’s day. Please enjoy exploring Edo Livelihoods by Hokusai in detail.
We would like to express our profound respect for and gratitude to everyone whose cooperation and support helped make this exhibition possible.
Animals have been one of the greatest inspirational resources for numerous artists around the world, Hokusai was certainly not an exception leaving various works of animals. A master of capturing the characteristics of his subjects, Hokusai depicted not only the attractiveness of animals but their distinctive realities. Some of animals represent quite delicate expressions particularly on the shape of their eyes.
This exhibition introduces the portrayals of animals by Hokusai and his pupils: the design for toys and tools in daily life, the illustration for myths and legends, and the embodiment of imaginative animals.