In a first for the region, the Louvre Abu Dhabi brings together 19th and 20th century paintings, prints and screens that celebrate the artistic cultural dialogue between Japan and France, and the important influence of the colourful ukiyo-e aesthetics on modern decorative arts.
The Japanese Collections: The Birth of Modern Décor exhibition will be the first in a season of exhibitions at the city’s sought after art gallery.
In 1853 Japan’s trade opened to the West for the first time in 220 years, giving rise to a deep fascination with its culture and Far Eastern aesthetics that lasted in Europe for 50 years. During this time, woodblock prints and paintings in the iconic ukiyo-e style influenced some of Europe’s most renowned painters.
The exhibition will present 41 artworks and 15 documents by 12 artists including French artists Paul Sérusier, Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Ker-Xavier Roussel and Édouard Vuillard who made up the renowned Nabis group of artists; Marguerite Sérusier and Odilon Redon; and the five Japanese ukiyo-e masters: Katsushika Hokusai, Hara Zaimei, Utagawa Hiroshige, Kano Tanshin and Toshusai Sharaku.
The exhibition will be divded into four sections that illustrate the influence of the ukiyo-e principles. The presentation will also include 10 printed screens that originate from Japan as well as the European artist’ works. The Japanese works include South Wind, Clear Sky from the series Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji (1831-32) and Yôrô Waterfall in Mino Province (1830-1834) by Katsushika Hokusai, the most renowned ukiyo-e master.
Alongside the exhibition, the museum will run a public programme that celebrates the arts and culture of Japan, inkling a Big in Japan festival on October 26 and 27, which will feature poetry, Japanese cooking classes, film screenings and more.
The collection has been assembled from the collections of Louvre Abu Dhabi, Musée d’Orsay, Musée national des Arts asiatiques – Guimet and Musée des Arts Décoratifs (MAD) and will run until 24 November.