In conjunction with the summer exhibition, Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota, the Museum of Art presents Modern Sensibilities in Japanese Landscape Traditions. This exhibition, an examination of 20th-century Japanese woodblock prints, is on view from June 23 through August 26. Laura J. Mueller, Ph.D., a specialist in the field, is a guest curator.
In the 20th century, modern artistic practices influenced the creative evolution of Japan’s long tradition of landscapes. In the previous century, artists had developed highly sophisticated conventions of a uniquely Japanese approach to landscape genre in full-color woodblock prints, including stylized, delineated representations of nature. Celebrated artists Katsushika Hokusai (1790-1858) solidified modes of landscape representation in ukiyo-e, or “pictures of the floating world.” In a modern response to that rich tradition, artists including Yoshida Hiroshi (1876-1950) and Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) drew inspiration from new ways of interpreting nature and painterly expressions of scenery that brought about new visual and poetic sensibilities that fundamentally altered the landscape print traditions in Japan.
Modern Sensibilities will present 33 works of art that demonstrate how modern landscape print artists in Japan built on established modes of representation to create a fresh visual approach to the genre that found enthusiastic audiences and markets well beyond the shores of Japan. These compositions explore a new dynamic aesthetic that captivated and inspired collectors and artists with their modern meditations on nature in an ever-shrinking, urbanizing world.
The Museum of Art is proud to showcase a little-known aspect of its collection and thanks to Dr. Mueller for her thoughtful and enlightening work. The Museum also gratefully acknowledges The Matt Law Firm, sponsor of Modern Sensibilities.