Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Hokusai Exhibition

There is a wonderful exhibition of works by Hokusai at the NGV ( National Gallery of Victoria).

Hokusai was a Japanese artist born in October 1760 and died in May 1849. You might think that you have never heard of him but his woodblock print of the Great Wave is known worldwide. It is hard to see in the photo but there are some people in boats and the work is to show how nature is mightier than us.

The Great Wave of Kanagawa by Hokusai
 As usual the foyer of the gallery is decorated with big posters of the current exhibition and as we arrived we were greeted by colourful animated posters of Hokusai.

It is a huge exhibition and I was surprised that there are so many writings by Hokusai and so we can follow his thoughts and ideas as we view the exhibition.

It is well documented that the Impressionist painters were influenced by Hokusai and other Japanese artists, so I was very surprised to read that Hokusai was inspired by the European art that he saw.

One of the things that struck me the most was his beautiful use of negative space. We don't need to fill every space.

He also loved the theatre and plays and did many of the illustrations for them; the one below was of a puppet show.

He was famous for working in a series and one room was full of his waterfall artworks. Another series was 36 views of Mt Fuji. I bought a postcard of one of them.

Many of them had that dark line of blue across the top and it really gave depth to the prints and look at the water, there is so much movement in it. Apparently he drew every day and he really was a master of carving woodblocks. 

Toward the end of his life he concentrated on flowers and birds and I bought a postcard of one because I really liked the composition.

Peonies and Canary by Hokusai

My favourite room apart from seeing the Great Wave was a room of art inspired by poetry. I was so fascinated that I forgot to take any photos. The translation of the poetry was written next to each work and they were mostly about love lost, found or unrequited, they were delicate little verses and I really loved them. 

I might have to go back and take some more photos.

In the gift shop I bought some postcards and also a notebook with the Great Wave on the front.


The exhibition is on until October 15th, so there is still plenty of time to see it.

Bye for now,


Robbie said...

We used works by Hokusai as one of our Master Artists a few years back. We each created an 18"x20" quilt based on his work and we each did the 'wave'! It was so cool!!! thanks for sharing and introducing his work to your readers!

Linda Steele said...

How wonderful Robbie. Maybe I should put him on our art quilters list to study