Tour: Japan on Paper


Wednesday, June 5, 2019, 3:30pm to 4:30pm


Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street

Join us for an in-depth tour of our exhibition Japan on Paper, on view May 25 through August 11, 2019 in the University Study Gallery on Level 3.

Japanese woodblock prints, with their sophisticated designs and bold planes of color, have long attracted viewers and inspired Western artists such as Vincent van Gogh and Mary Cassatt. These technically refined and aesthetically exciting prints were among the earliest works of Asian art acquired by the Harvard Art Museums, first entering the collections in 1910. Today the museums house approximately 5,000 single-sheet Japanese woodblock prints, and this exhibition introduces, among other works, a selection of superlative impressions from this lively medium. Japan on Paper also seeks to highlight the individuals whose generosity has made it possible for generations of Harvard students to encounter and learn from these works.

The exhibition features almost 50 works spanning the history of Japanese woodblock printing, from the 17th through the 20th century; these include single-sheet prints, luxury surimono prints, printed handscrolls, and printed books by renowned designers such as Suzuki Harunobu (1725–1770), pioneer of the full-color print; landscape specialist Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858); enigmatic designer Sharaku (active 1794–95); Itō Jakuchū (1716–1800); and the ever-popular Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849). Also included are modern “new print” (shin hanga) and “creative print” (sōsaku hanga) works by the leaders of these two 20th-century movements, as well as a selection of woodblock printing tools to enhance visitors’ understanding of the medium.

The exhibition marks the first public presentation of the museums’ newest acquisition in the area of Japanese prints, a contemporary work by Noriko Saitō (born 1973).

Free with museums admission. This tour is limited to 15 people and tickets are required. Ten minutes before the tour, tickets will become available at the admissions desk.

Please meet in the Calderwood Courtyard, in front of the digital screens between the shop and the admissions desk. Museums staff will be on hand to collect tickets.