courtesy of the National Museum of Asian Arts
Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai is perhaps best known for his iconic woodcut, “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”, (which, as you know, has been frequently imitated and parodied – including on the side of this Georgetown home) but few people know of another work – a breathtaking painting titled “Breaking Waves” – which was created 15 years later at the height of his career. Now that the rarely seen painting, the culmination of Hokusai’s lifelong effort to capture the sea, will be on view when the Freer Gallery of Art (Jefferson Drive in 12th St. SW) reopens on Friday, July 16. .. “
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“Hokusai’s breathtaking and rarely seen wave painting will be on display this month
“Breaking Waves” is one of the 50 works that will be presented this summer in “Hokusai: Mad about Painting”. The exhibit initially opened at the Freer in fall 2019 and was on view until the museum closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Building on its impressive Hokusai collection, the museum offers visitors the opportunity to see a whole new presentation of the works in the Freer. With new works of art added to the galleries in July and August, visitors will have plenty of reasons to return throughout the summer. “Mad about Painting” continues until January 9, 2022.
“Hokusai was a keen observer of the ocean,” said Frank Feltens, associate curator of the Japan Foundation for Japanese Art at the museum. “He saw the sea as the lifeblood of Japan, a source of life and bounty through threats of storms, tidal waves and tsunamis. “Breaking Waves”, created in his later years, shows ocean and land in perfect unison. ”
In addition to “Breaking Waves”, the exhibition includes large and small works, from screens and hanging scrolls to paintings and drawings. Also included are rare hanshita-e, designs for woodcuts that were glued to wood and frequently destroyed during the process of carving the block before printing. Among the many works presented is the manga Hokusai, his often humorous interpretations of everyday life in Japan. “Together, the works reveal an artistic genius,” said Feltens.
Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) started drawing at the age of 6. He wanted to live to be 110 years old to achieve an almost divine mastery of his art, but only reached 90 years old. A master of color, space and composition, he produced thousands of works throughout his long life and is considered by many to be Japan’s best-known artist. Museum founder Charles Lang Freer recognized Hokusai’s vast abilities before many other collectors. Enchanted by his brushstroke and artistic sensibility, Freer has assembled the world’s largest collection of Hokusai paintings, sketches and drawings.
Museum opening times and information
The new museum opening hours are From Friday to Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Face covers are mandatory for visitors 2 years of age and older who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a face cover when visiting.
“We are delighted to welcome visitors to the National Museum of Asian Art again to experience not only Hokusai’s masterpieces, but also museum favorites such as the Peacock Hall and the Cosmic Buddha,” said Chase Robinson, Dame Jillian Sackler director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art, the National Museum of Asian Art.
Chinese paintings, Indian sculptures, Islamic paintings and metal objects, Japanese lacquers, Korean ceramics and American art from the late 19th century aesthetic movement will be in the spotlight when the museum reopens. Note: Only the Freer will reopen in July. The Sackler will remain temporarily closed for the construction of the exhibition until November.
About the National Museum of Asian Arts
The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery together make up the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, located on the National Mall in Washington, DC Committed to preserving, exhibiting and performing exemplary works of art, the museum houses collections exceptional Asian art, with more than 44,000 objects dating from the Neolithic to the present day. Famous and iconic objects come from China, Japan, Korea, South and Southeast Asia, the ancient Near East and the Islamic world. The Freer Gallery also holds a large group of American works of art dating largely from the late 19th century. It has the world’s largest collection of various works by James McNeill Whistler, including the famous Peacock Room. The National Museum of Asian Art is dedicated to increasing understanding of Asian arts through a broad portfolio of exhibitions, publications, curatorial, research and education.