Hokusai - The Great Wave

Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849): “The Great Wave”

"Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave" - British Museum



The exhibition ‘Hokusai: beyond the Great wave’ provides new insight into the prodigiously productive last thirty years of Hokusai’s life and art from around 1820 to 1849. British Museum, 25 May – 13 August 2017.

Source: British Museum

Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) has long enjoyed a strong international reputation and is considered by many to be Japan’s greatest artist. The British Museum stages the first exhibition in the UK to focus on the later years of the life and art of Hokusai, featuring his iconic print ‘The Great Wave’ of c. 1831 and continuing to the sublime painted works produced right up to his death at the age of 90.

The exhibition adopts a new approach to explore Hokusai’s later career in thematic as well as chronological terms. The exhibition will shed light on Hokusai’s personal beliefs and his spiritual and artistic quest through major paintings, drawings, woodblock prints and illustrated books. Many have never been seen before in the UK and can only be displayed for a limited length of time. From iconic landscapes and wave pictures to deities and mythological beasts, from flora and fauna to beautiful women, from collaborations with other painters and writers to still lives – the works on show are extraordinarily varied, with objects drawn from the British Museum’s superb collection and many loans from Japan, Europe and the United States.

There will be a rotation of about half the artworks midway through the exhibition run for conservation reasons. Due to their light sensitivity some works can only be displayed for a limited amount of time, to preserve the vivid colours. Each rotation tells the same story, but there is the opportunity to see a selection of different works in each half. The exhibition will feature around 110 works in each rotation. The exhibition will be temporary closed from 3-6 July 2017 for this rotation.

Hokusai’s most iconic print, ‘The Great Wave’ will be featured, a fine, early impression acquired in 2008 by the British Museum with the assistance of the Art Fund. Hokusai created this world renowned masterpiece when he was about seventy. Mt Fuji and its wider spiritual significance was a model for Hokusai in his quest for immortality during his later years.



Related content

Katsushika Hokusai - The Great Wave (from the “50 masterworks of painting” series)


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