From the 1830s to the 1850s, Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) and Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) developed a dynamic new genre of landscape prints that became hugely popular with their customers in Japan and later with western artists and collectors.
The exhibition will explore how Hokusai exploited a growing interest in Japanese landscape through his ground-breaking series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji and how he experimented with newly available Prussian Blue dye to develop a striking new colour palette. The selection will include his iconic design The Great Wave off Kanagawa.
Encouraged by Hokusai’s success, Hiroshige developed his own landscape series including TheFifty-three Stations of the Tokaido Road which portrayed views along the route between the cities of Kyoto and Edo (today’s Tokyo). Engaging scenes from this and other series will be included in the display.
The exhibit will highlight the ways in which both artists use innovative perspectives, changes in light and weather as well as human figures to involve viewers in the scenes.
Included in the display will be a set of prints showing the process of colour printing one of Hiroshige’s prints Shono – Sudden Rain from The Fifty-three stations on the Tokaido, newly commissioned from a traditional woodblock print workshop in Tokyo with funding from the Friends of Bristol Art Gallery.
This is the first of three exhibitions showcasing our Japanese print collection.