青幻舎 SEIGENSHA Art Publishing

青幻舎

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Hokusai’s Brush: Paintings, Drawings, and Sketches by Katsushika Hokusai in the Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution

Author(s):
Editorial supervision by James Ulak and Frank Feltens (Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery) With an essay by art historian Shugo Asano
Price:
2,600 yen (JPY)
Size:
297 × 150 × 9 mm, 420 g
Pages:
144
Binding:
softcover
Release date:
20181225
ISBN:
978-4-86152-709-8 C0070

Witness the awesome creative passion of a master in his last years: the world’s largest collection of Hokusai’s brush works, published in book form for the first time.

While perhaps less famed than his woodblock prints, Katsushika Hokusai’s brush works nonetheless embody his efforts to reach for the ultimate heights of his art up to his last moments at age ninety. The Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, owns the best and largest collection of those works, which has, however, remained largely unknown even in Japan due to the museum’s policy of not lending its holdings to outside institutions.

Now, with the full cooperation of the museum, this volume presents the Freer’s Hokusai collection in book form for the first time. A selection of some one hundred brush paintings, drawings, and sketches is followed by more than sixty master drawings for the unfinished print series Hyakunin isshu uba ga etoki (One Hundred Poems Explained by a Nurse), which Hokusai rendered in lines so intricate that the woodblock carver was unable to reproduce them on the finished prints. Commentaries make ample use of close-up details, allowing readers to fully appreciate the secrets of Hokusai’s brush—his quest for self-expression, his experimental daring, his eye on his subjects.

The Freer Gallery of Art, a part of the Smithsonian Institution, houses a collection of Asian and American art donated to the United States in 1906 by the industrialist Charles Lang Freer. Its body of more than two hundred brush works by Katsushika Hokusai, in particular, reflects Freer’s admiration of Japanese art and is counted the best of its kind in the world in both quality and quantity. Adding to the rarity and specialness of the collection is Freer’s stipulation that his donated works should not be lent out, a policy that has been rigorously upheld by the museum over the century since its founding.

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