Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849): Yoshitsune's Horse-
washing Falls at Yoshino in Yamato Province (Washū
Yoshino Yoshitsune uma arai no taki), from the series A
Tour of Waterfalls in Various Provinces (Shokoku taki
meguri). Ca. 1832. Published by Nishimuraya Yohachi.
Woodblock print, ink and color on paper, 36.1 x 23.7 cm.
Scholten Japanese Art, New York.
Near and Far:
Landscapes by Japanese Artists
Jan. 6 – Apr. 20, 2013
Rotation 2: Idealization of Reality
After traveling through the world of imaginary landscapes in the first rotation of the Clark Center’s exhibition Near and Far: Landscapes by Japanese Artists, the second rotation, Idealization of Reality, presents yet another form of landscape painting. This rotation features depictions of existing landscapes, either in Japan or abroad, as interpreted by Japanese artists.
Japan’s tradition of capturing "famous places" (meisho) such as Mount Fuji goes back to the Heian period (794–1185), when well-known locations were illustrated in the different seasons. Landscapes were either depicted because of their exceptional beauty, or because they had a particular connection to poetry and literature. Artistic renditions of these famous locations, however, were in later times not solely portrayals of nature. With the development of woodblock printing in the Edo period (1603–1868), artists such as Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) and Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) concentrated on famous sights in the provinces as well as in the cities, thus broadening the canon of "famous places."
Yoshida Tōshi (1911–1995): Mount Rainier in Winter (Fuyu no Reniya-
zan). 1972. Woodblock print, ink and colors on paper, 36 x 51 cm. Gift of
Mr. H. Ed Robison, in memory of his beloved wife Ulrike Pietzner Robison.
Japanese artists did not limit themselves to scenes of their own home country, but also explored places abroad. However, although painters illustrated locales that truly existed, their depiction was often idealized in order to create a harmonious composition. Literati artists of the 18th and 19th centuries, who were familiar with Chinese themes, adapted famous motifs such as the Red Cliff, the location of a battle of the 3rd century. Since the traveling ban in the Edo period made it impossible for Japanese artists to go abroad and actually see these places with their own eyes, their depictions were often based on other paintings and are hardly realistic. A change came with Japan’s opening to the West in the middle of the 19th century and the burgeoning travel activities of the Japanese artists around that time. In the 20th century, woodblock print artists of the Yoshida family traveled extensively throughout the world and once returned to Japan, designed prints featuring foreign sights, for example in India, Mexico, or Switzerland.
Tani Bunchō (1763–1841): Scenery of Matsushima. 1826.
Hanging scroll, ink and colors on silk, 200.6 x 167.6 cm.
Clark Family Collection.
With artworks of different media ranging from the 17th to the 20th century, Idealization of Reality focuses on artistic renditions of existing places by combining sceneries from Japan and overseas.
Curated by Sonja Simonis, Curatorial Assistant.
Gallery hours: Tuesday through Saturday 1 – 5 pm. Closed on national holidays and during the month of August.
Admission: $5 for adults, $3 for students and active military service with valid ID. Children 12 and under free.
Weekly docent tours are held Saturdays at 1 pm and guided group tours can be arranged by calling the Center in advance at (559) 582-4915.