The most acclaimed print series by Japan’s most famous artist, Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji by Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) contains images of worldwide renown, including Under the Wave off Kanagawa, better known as the “Great Wave.” First published for the New Year of 1831, the series was a landmark in Japanese print publishing, incorporating innovative compositions, techniques, and coloration and establishing landscape as a new subject. As part of the Japan Spring celebration, the Sackler presents examples of all 46 prints in the series—which was continued under its original title due to the great popularity of Hokusai’s designs—including several rare, early printings featuring unusual coloration. The exhibition lends context to these iconic designs and explores the artistic methods and meaning behind Hokusai’s depictions of Mount Fuji.
This exhibition complements two Hokusai installations in the Freer. Hokusai: Japanese Screens, on view through July 29, 2012, features a magnificent pair of six-panel folding screens of Mount Fuji. Hokusai: Paintings and Drawings, on view February 18–June 24, 2012, features such highlights as Boy Viewing Mount Fuji and three masterworks of Hokusai’s last years, Thunder God, Fisherman, and Woodcutter.