Utamaro and the Lure of Japan is the long-awaited celebration of Japanese art at the Wadsworth Atheneum. With paintings, screens, prints and decorative arts, the show will explore for the first time the depths of its Japanese art collection.
The Wadsworth Atheneum’s own Cherry Blossoms at Yoshiwara by ukiyo-e artist Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806) will be displayed alongside its recently re-discovered companion Fukagawa in the Snow from the Okada Museum, and a reproduction of the Freer/Sackler Galleries’ third painting, Moon at Shinagawa. The reunion of these paintings, which are considered Utamaro’s most ambitious works, will offer visitors a renewed assessment of his art—the multi-figured scenes painted in vibrant colors attest to Utamaro’s fame as one of the outstanding artists of his time. Cherry Blossoms at Yoshiwara is rarely exhibited, and together with its counterparts will provide a unique window into Japan during the Edo period (1615-1868).
Utamaro and the Lure of Japan will also explore the history of Japanese art collecting in Hartford and at the Wadsworth Atheneum, beginning with the Colt family in the 1860s and continuing through a subsequent century-long fascination with Japanese objects. In addition to selection of prints and drawings, the exhibition will feature an array of decorative arts objects from the late 19th century, illustrating changing tastes not only in Japanese art but among its American collectors as Eastern culture became more accessible to the West.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website