SEATTLE – The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) presents Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence, from the Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston running Oct. 19, 2023–Jan. 21, 2024.
Thanks to the popularity of the instantly recognizable Great Wave—cited everywhere from book covers to Lego sets, anime, and even an emoji—Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) has become one of the most famous Japanese artists in the world.
Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence explores the fascinating life and enduring legacy of this trailblazing master by pairing more than 100 of his woodblock prints, paintings, and illustrated books with more than 200 works by his teachers, students, rivals, and admirers.
This new approach to presenting Hokusai’s work demonstrates his impact through centuries and around the globe, seen in works by his daughter Katsushika Ōi; his contemporaries Utagawa Hiroshige and Utagawa Kuniyoshi; 19th-century American and European painters, including Henri Rivière and Félix Bracquemond; and modern and contemporary artists such as Helen Frankenthaler, Yoshitomo Nara, and Chiho Aoshima.
Each gallery features modern and contemporary works alongside those by Hokusai and his contemporaries for a more dynamic experience.
Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence is on view at the Seattle Art Museum and curated by Sarah E. Thompson, Curator of Japanese Art at the MFA Boston.
José Carlos Diaz, SAM’s Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art, oversaw SAM’s presentation.
The exhibition debuted earlier this year in Boston; this is the only West Coast stop for its national tour. It also marks the first time nearly all of these works have been seen outside of Boston or Japan. “We are thrilled to share works from the MFA Boston—home to one of the largest and most significant collections of Hokusai’s works in the world—with Seattle audiences,” says Thompson. Adds Diaz, “Hokusai’s tireless creativity left a massive and enthralling body of work. I hope visitors find that the works by Hokusai and his contemporaries are just as fresh as the modern and present-day works.”