Ejiri in the Suruga province (1832) by Katsushika Hokusai
one of the prints seen in the video
This is the Video which was created to promote the Hokusai and Hiroshige: Great Japanese Prints from the James A. Michener Collection, Honolulu Academy of Arts exhibition that took place at the Asian Art Museum from September 26 - December 6, 1998. It was filmed at the museum's former location in Golden Gate Park.
The video offers an overview of the context for the ukiyo-e and then provides two profiles of the work of Hokusai and Hiroshige.
You can also view it in iTunes. This is the description of the video on iTunes.
The society of Japan's Edo period (1615-1867) embraced a number of intriguing contradictions. It was a time of unprecedented stability, when Japan, previously a mosaic of violently warring feudal states, finally achieved unity as a nation. Though strictly stratified in four hereditary classes — nobles, farmers, artisans, and merchants — Edo society nevertheless produced a vigorous middle class of enterprising commoners. By the 1800s, commoners enjoyed the numerous amenities of Edo (Tokyo), the world's largest city. They launched businesses, perfected crafts, gained leisure time and literacy, traveled a system of safe roads, and enjoyed art and poetry. While print makers initially illustrated the denizens of the pleasure quarters, or Ukiyo-e ("floating world"), the print also became an acceptable and affordable medium for the full range of expression common to Japanese art, including landscape, flowers and birds, and genre scenes. The most important and prolific were the 19th-century artists Katsushika Hokusai and Utagawa Hiroshige, whose prints constitute the most recognizable images of Japanese art throughout the world. This exhibition was organized by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and the Honolulu Academy of Arts.The James A. Michener Collection
Description on iTunes
Most of us know James A Michener as a famous novelist. However he was also very interested in Japanese prints and he became a great collector and connoisseur of Japanese prints, and an important patron of the Honolulu Academy of Arts.
His entire collection of Japanese woodblock prints (nearly 5,400) - ranging from 17th century to late 20th century Japanese prints - was donated to the Honolulu Academy of Arts between 1959 and 1991. Today, that donation accounts for about half of the entire collection of more than 10,000 Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints.
|Webpage for the Japanese Wood Block print Collection of the Honolulu Museum|
Other educational resources about Japanese Art provided by the Asian Art Museum include:
- Artist Profile: Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) (Background information)
- Artist Profile: Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) (Background information)
- How to Read a Woodblock Print (downloadable Image) / How to Read a Woodblock Print (PDF)
I've been studying Japanese Art for some time - ever since I discovered its influence on western art in the nineteenth century. These are links to the resource websites I created:
- About Japanese Art and Artists
- About Hiroshige - Famous Japanese Printmaker
- About Hokusai - Japanese ukiyo-e artist