Ogata Gekkō and his contemporaries

5 June to 5 September 2021

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Japan Museum SieboldHuis is proud to present "Ogata Gekkō and his contemporaries". The works of this versatile artist will be exhibited from 5 June to September 5, 2021. It is the first time that a large stage has been offered to this multi-talented artist outside Japan.

In accordance with Government Guidelines, access to the museum is only permitted with a pre-purchased online ticket that indicates entry time. The use of entry times ensures a safe distribution of visitors.

All visitors must reserve an entry time via sieboldhuis.org, this also applies to museum card holders, Friends of Japan Museum SieboldHuis and students.

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Private loans (including a large collection from Tasmania!), consisting of prints, books, albums and precious paintings, have made this exhibition possible. In addition to more than one hundred works by Ogata Gekkō (1859 - 1920), forty works of art by his contemporaries are on display. This exhibition offers a new perspective on printmaking during the Meiji period (1868-1912) and is a must see for lovers of Japanese art.

Japanese prints are characterized by the use of fixed composition rules, clean lines and clear areas of colour, but how different is in the oeuvre of Ogata Gekkō. His prints are associated with: Shin nishikie (new brocade prints). Gekkō's style is closer to painting, partly because of its very subtle colour transitions. 

Gekkō is a self-taught artist who grew to become one of the leading artists of his time. His reputation rose not only because of his excellent technique, but also because of his versatility: in addition to prints, he also designed book illustrations, covers and impressive paintings on paper and silk. His popularity resulted in a large group of students, including the important 20th-century printmaker, Yamamura Kōka. Just before his death, Gekkō was referred to as one of the 'grand old men' of Japanese printmaking.  



Famous contemporaries such as Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892), Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915) and Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900) are responsible for the image of Japanese prints from the late 19th century. The comparison of Gekkō's work with forty works by his colleagues illustrates the differences, but also the similarities. Well-known themes from Japanese printmaking guide the visitor on a journey through the exhibition. The chapters "Nature, landscapes and the city", "Literature and theatre", "Modern wars, modern military" present a striking depiction of Japan during the Meiji period.  


Catalogue and activities

A richly illustrated catalogue will accompany this exhibition telling the fascinating story of the life and work of Ogata Gekkō and including fragments from diaries, recollections by his son and by some of his famous students. An interesting and thought-provoking activities programme will offer further insight into Japanese art, the artist and the Meiji period.

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