12 December 2016

Sumida Hokusai Museum

Hokusai Returns
The Sumida Hokusai Museum opened in Tokyo on 22nd November. It's inaugural exhibition, Hokusai Returns: A Long-Lost Scroll & Masterpieces From The Collection, runs until 15th January 2017. The Museum's mirrored exterior is impressive, though its gallery space is quite limited. The gift shop sells mainly novelty items, but there is a library in an adjacent building.

The exhibition is a rare opportunity to see Katsushika Hokusai's most famous woodblock prints, 神奈川沖浪裏 (known as The Great Wave) and 凱風快晴 (known as Red Fuji), from his Thirty-Six Views Of Mount Fuji series. (Generally, ukiyo-e prints are not exhibited for an extended period, as their dyes are sensitive to light.)

The exhibition catalogue includes a gatefold reproduction of Hokusai's Sumida River scroll. Gian Carlo Calza's book Hokusai (published in Italian in 1999, and in English in 2003) is the most comprehensive monograph on the artist, and Richard Lane's Images From The Floating World (1978) is the classic survey of ukiyo-e prints.