This winter Japan Museum SieboldHuis will showcase ‘Kunisada. Elegant Geishas, Spirited Actors’, a two-part exhibition featuring a unique selection of prints by this versatile and widely acclaimed 19th century print artist. This comprehensive overview of Utagawa Kunisada’s works is a European premiere for Japan Museum SieboldHuis.
Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865), also known as Toyokuni III, was the most productive and successful Japanese artist of the first half of the 19th century. His reputation surpassed that of his famous contemporaries Hokusai, Hiroshige and Kuniyoshi. In his lengthy career spanning more than 5 decades, Kunisada reigned as an outstanding and versatile ukiyo-e artist responsible for over 25,000 prints. A majority of the 150 prints and paintings will be on display in Leiden for the first time.
230 years after Kunisada’s birth, Japan Museum SieboldHuis pays homage to this extraordinary artist in an exclusive overview exhibition featuring works on loan from international public and private collections. Of particular interest are the early prints of courtisanes and geisha acquired in Japan between 1823 and 1828 by Philipp Franz von Siebold.
‘Kunisada, Elegant Beauties and Spirited Actors’ presents a chronological overview, in which several genres are highlighted. On display are prints of females in lavish kimonos, colourful actors, formidable heroes, breath taking landscapes and themes such as the ever popular Tales of Genji. Also featured in this exhibition are Surimono, a limited edition series of lavishly decorated prints framed in poetry as well as beautiful fan prints. Noteworthy is the detailed triptych that Kunisada made together with Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) highlighting Kunisada’s striking portraits and Hiroshige’s breathtaking landscapes.
The exhibition is divided into two parts, both providing ample opportunity to experience Kunisada’s artistic development. Characteristic of his early works are his use of soft natural colours and peaceful compositions. In his later works his colours became brighter and more intense and his compositions more complex.
Part I : 9 December 2016 – 22 January 2017 (Kunisada;’s Masterpieces from 1805-1828)
Part II : 24 January 2017 – 5 March 2017 (Kunisada’s Masterpieces from 1829 – 1865)