2024/1/28: Closing / Washington DC / Freer Galley of Art presents “Meeting Tessai: Modern Japanese Art from the Cowles Collection” Aug.13, 2022–Jan.28, 2024

Blind Men Appraising an Elephant (detail), Tomioka Tessai (1836–1924), Japan, Taisho era, 1921, hanging scroll, ink and color on silk, The Mary and Cheney Cowles Collection, Gift of Mary and Cheney Cowles, Freer Gallery of Art

WASHINGTON DC (Cultural News: Forwarded for Freer Gallery of Art)

National Museum of Asian Art

Freer Gallery of Art
Jefferson Drive and 12th St., SW
Washington, DC
Gallery 8

Meeting Tessai: Modern Japanese Art from the Cowles Collection
August 13, 2022–January 28, 2024

Tomioka Tessai (1836–1924) exemplifies the modern Japanese painter. Contemporaries praised his avant-garde works, yet Tessai created his nonconformist paintings in a traditional way, basing them on ancient Japanese art and Ming and Qing paintings imported from China.

Tessai’s teacher Ōtagaki Rengetsu (1791–1875)—nun, potter, calligrapher, poet, political activist—was at the vortex of immense political changes in Japan as the country’s feudal system collapsed and a constitutional monarchy was established.

Rengetsu’s art, which harks back to inspirations from the twelfth century, inspired a generation of modern artists like Tessai.

Meeting Tessai highlights a transformative gift of early modern and modern Japanese paintings and calligraphy from the Mary and Cheney Cowles Collection.

It is also the first major American exhibition in five decades to explore the significance of pan–East Asian influences—a pertinent topic in today’s interconnected world—through the work of Tessai, Rengetsu, and modern Japanese painting.

Generous support for the museum’s Japanese art program is provided by Mitsubishi Corporation.