Utagawa Hiroshige

Japanese, 1797–1858

Harbor Scene, early–mid 19th century

Woodblock on paper

13 1/4 x 8 3/4 inches 

Gift of Mrs. Ralph Harman Booth, 1942.8

Rhythms and Experiences: Everyday Life in 19th-century Japanese Prints

January 13, 2018 - April 15, 2018

Graphics Gallery

There are two intriguing sides to the highly popular works on paper created by Japanese artists in the 19th century. On one hand, Japanese artists like Ichiryusai Hiroshige and Takahashi Hiroaki were adept at capturing the cultural values of their people; on the other, 19th-century European collectors were looking to expand their cultural experiences and tap into the exoticism of Japanese tradition as well as new trade opportunities. Rhythms and Experiences: Everyday Life in 19th-Century Japanese Prints features works by some of Japan’s most prominent print artists. This exhibition, curated by Dr. Sarah Lippert, associate professor of art history at the University of Michigan-Flint, focuses on the simple elegance of the quotidian in Japanese life, and explores why artists and collectors in Europe fell in love with Japonisme, a cult of Japanese aesthetic tradition. These works teach us about what was valued both in and outside of Japan in its everyday rhythms, from the quaintness of village life to the beloved elements of Japan’s natural features.

The Graphics Gallery is sponsored by