The great wave off Kanagawa – It is perhaps the best known and most recognisable piece of Japanese art. It has adorned walls, notebooks and computer desktops the world over, and now Australian art enthusiasts get to witness it, alongside other works by its creator, in the flesh at Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria this July.
The artist in question is of course Katsushika Hokusai. Hokusai was a master of Japanese manga and a self proclaimed “drawing maniac”, he is also one of Japan’s most beloved and influential artists. His work comprises some of the most recognisable and reproduced examples of Asian art and has had an huge impact on contemporary Japanese art and manga.
The exhibition which will run from 21st July until the 15th October, spans the entirety of Hokusai’s career, and marks the first major presentation of his work in Australia. Included in the exhibition will be more than 150 works, comprising of the woodblock prints of which he is perhaps most famous, rare paintings on silk (never before seen in Australia) and hand-printed manga.
Also to be exhibited the complete sets of Hokusai’s fiver career-defining series, all of which were created by Hokusai when he was in his seventies and have rarely been exhibited in their totality. Amongst these series is Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, 1830–34, which contains the aforementioned ‘The great wave off Kanagawa’. Finally the exhibition will also feature all fifteen editions of The Hokusai Manga, Hokusai’s homage to Japanese humorous illustrations.
Director of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Tony Ellwood said this of the exhibition, “The unprecedented Australian exhibition, Hokusai, offers audiences a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the artist’s influential legacy in one of the most comprehensive exhibitions ever staged outside of Japan.”
Hokusai will be on display at NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, Australia from 21 July 17 – 15 October 2017. Tickets and further information are available from the NGV website.