Against the Grain: Japanese Woodblock Prints from the University of Alberta Art Collection
09 May – 24 July 2011
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Against the Grain surveys the aesthetic, cultural and technical developments in Japanese woodblock printing from the Edo period (1603-1868) to the present day, including the historic development of ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) and more recently, shin-hanga (“new prints”) and sosaku-hanga (“creative prints”).
Highlights of the exhibition include a body of Edo-period ukiyo-e prints, which depict contemporary urban life, geisha culture and legendary events, and numerous 1857 prints by Kunisada II illustrating The Tale of Genji, the 11th-century novel thought to be the world’s oldest. The exhibition also features iconic works by Hiroshige and Hokusai, which had a major impact on the work of such European artists as Degas, Cassatt, Gauguin and van Gogh.
The exhibition concludes with twentieth-century prints, including shin-hanga landscapes by Kawae Husui, Tokyo views by Shirō Kasamatsu, and more recent experimental prints from the 1980s and 1990s, whose makers build on the monumental achievements of their forebears.