September 2011

The Golden Age of Ukiyo-e: 1780–1800

September 13—17, 2011

For over one hundred years the late 18th century has been recognized as the most fertile period for ukiyo-e. The Golden Age of Ukiyo-e: 1780–1800 featured images which document the star actors and prominent courtesans and entertainers of the era.

Paintings by masters such as Katsukawa Shuncho, Utagawa Toyoharu, and Utagawa Toyokuni were included. Courtesan and Her Maid beneath Flowering Cherry by Toyokuni dates to the final years of the 18th century. Works by Toyokuni from this period are rare and are considered among the finest of his oeuvre. The painting surface is in almost perfect condition and features the elaborate detailing of the robes that is the hallmark of this artist.

Among the prints, works by Chokosai Eisho and Kitagawa Utamaro were featured as well as rare works by other artists of the period. Many of these come from such famous collections as that of Henri Vever and are counted among the great works of the genre. Many examples in the exhibition were published by the leading tastemaker of the period, Tsutaya Juzaburo, whose ability to discover new talent mark him as one of the most influential figures of his generation. These included works such as Utamaro’s Beauty Smoking a Pipe from the series Ten Classes of Women’s Physiognomy, recognized as a masterpiece by the artist.