As of 8 November 2019, the Hôtel de Caumont Art Centre will be holding an exhibition of Japanese costumes and culture dating from the Edo era (1600-1867); the exhibition will include 150 ukiyo-e prints and other remarkable objects that will be presented to the French public for the very first time. Most of the works are from the Georges Leskowicz Collection, which is one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Ukiyo-e prints: ‘Pictures of the floating world’ • The ukiyo-e represented a new ‘art de vivre’, reflecting the popular pleasures of the Edo period. This period was characterised by an artistic and cultural effervescence, but also by the rejection of any foreign influence. These prints highlight all the technical and iconographic variety of a fascinating ancestral art. The art of ukiyo-e influenced, in particular, Japanese animated films and Western cartoons.
Surimono : rare and refined prints • By Hokusai, Hiroshige, Hokkei, and Gakutei, amongst others, were executed on luxurious paper, using invaluable and sophisticated techniques. Intended for restricted circles of intellectuals or cultural elites and printed in limited numbers, the surimono woodblock prints often combined figurative compositions with poetic texts in the form of sought-after calligraphies. Representing the quintessence of Japanese refinement, these works illustrated the entire range of themes and images that were characteristic of the life and culture of ancient Japan.
Remarkable objects • The exhibition will also include crafted objects from the same era, carefully selected from private and public collections such as the Musée National des Arts Asiatiques – Guimet in Paris, the Musée des Arts Asiatiques in Nice, and the Musée de la Parfumerie in Grasse. Representations of courtesans will be accompanied by kimonos, unique hats, and other female accessories; engraved representations of legends of warriors and samurais will be complemented, amongst others, by original helmets and spectacular armour. Writing desks, utensils, and everyday objects, as well as photographic reproductions and film extracts will immerse the visitors in the daily life of ancient Japan.
A showcase for masterpieces • The last exhibition room presents three emblematic prints that are displayed one after the other in this section.
– The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai: from 8 to 21 november / from 8 to 22 March
– Light Rain at the Peak of Mount Fuji by Hokusai : from 22 November to 15 January
– Sudden Shower Over ShinOhashi Bridge and Atake by Hiroshige : from 16 January to 7 March
Each of these three remarkable prints will be complemented by three original works, displayed via immersive projection.