7 May 2018
Twenty-eight Japanese colour woodcuts on display in the major exhibition 'Van Gogh & Japan' (23 March through 24 June) will be replaced tomorrow with a new set of prints.
This second set, which includes rare works by Katsushika Hokusai, once again features prints showing Van Gogh’s sources of inspiration and how Japanese art informed his technique. The prints are being rotated because of their sensitivity to light, owing to which many collections limit their loan periods to six weeks.
Among the prints going on view tomorrow (Tuesday, 8 May) are two rare works by Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849). One is an exceptionally fine colour woodblock print of Under the Wave off Kanagawa, part of the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (c. 1830–32), on loan from a private collection. Even in the 19th century, Hokusai was already revered as one of the most brilliant Japanese artists of all time.
Van Gogh lauded how Hokusai imbued this print with ‘some emotion (…), an ardent temperament. These waves are claws, the boat is caught in them, you can feel it’, he wrote. ‘Ah well, if we made the colour very correct or the drawing very correct, we wouldn’t create those emotions.’ This impression of the print is in pristine condition and beautifully coloured, the boats bright yellow and the cloud above flushed with pink.
Also on display in Van Gogh & Japan starting from 8 May is Hokusai’s Fuji and Cherry Blossom (1800–05). This subtly tinted print from the collection of the Rijksmuseum shows the snow-topped summit of Mount Fuji, glimpsed between banks of fog and flowering cherry trees. Trees in blossom and Mount Fuji were extremely popular subjects in Japanese art, and the images of rural Japan immortalized by Hokusai and other Japanese print artists became a prism through which Van Gogh saw the South of France.
Van Gogh & Japan
Van Gogh & Japan is a major international exhibition tracing the influence of Japanese art on the work of Vincent van Gogh. Featuring some 60 paintings and drawings by Van Gogh alongside a rich selection of Japanese prints, the exhibition reveals the multifaceted depth of Van Gogh’s admiration for this art and how profoundly it changed his work.
Van Gogh & Japan is on view at the Van Gogh Museum through 24 June. The exhibition wing will be open late every Saturday evening from 7pm to 9pm for the duration of the exhibition.