Beauty, Drama, and Nature: Ukiyo‑e Prints from GRAM’s Collection

Jan 28, 2020 — Dec 5, 2020

Japanese ukiyo‑e woodblock prints have influenced artists throughout the world and continue to fascinate us today. Drawn from GRAM’s collection of Japanese works on paper, including a number of recent acquisitions, this exhibition explores the primary genres of ukiyo‑e prints and their influence on Western art.

Ukiyo‑e literally means pictures of the floating or fleeting world and, as the name suggests, emphasized the impermanence and fleeting beauty of the world around us. These prints were first created in Tokyo during the Edo Period (1603 – 1868) and most frequently depicted the courtesans and famous Kabuki actors of the urban pleasure districts. Near the end of the period, Ukiyo‑e artists celebrating the natural beauty of Japan’s landscape became increasingly popular. This exhibition explores the three primary genres of Ukiyo‑e prints – female beauties (bijin-ga), kabuki actors (yakusha‑e), and landscapes – while a fourth section shows the influence of these prints on European and American art of the 19th century and beyond.

Virtual Tour