Hokusai’s Brush: Paintings, Drawings, and Sketches by Katsushika Hokusai in the Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution
- 2,600 yen (JPY)
- Editorial supervision by James Ulak and Frank Feltens (Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery)
- 297 × 150 × 9 mm, 420 g
- Release date:
- 978-4-86152-709-8 C0070
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 gallery’s policy of not lending its holdings to outside institutions.
Now, with the full cooperation of the gallery, 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 completed 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 200 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 collection's cachet is Freer’s stipulation that his donated works should not be lent out, a policy that has been rigorously upheld by the gallery over the century since its founding.