Hokusai, Hiroshige, Utamaro...
The Great Masters of Japan. The Georges Leskowicz Collection
As of 8 November 2019, the Hôtel de Caumont Art Centre will be holding an exhibition of Japanese costumes and culture dating from the Edo era (1600-1867); the exhibition will include 150 ukiyo-e prints and other remarkable objects that will be presented to the French public for the very first time. Most of the works are from the Georges Leskowicz Collection, which is one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Ukiyo-e prints: ‘Pictures of the floating world’ • The ukiyo-e represented a new ‘art de vivre’, reflecting the popular pleasures of the Edo period. This period was characterised by an artistic and cultural effervescence, but also by the rejection of any foreign influence. These prints highlight all the technical and iconographic variety of a fascinating ancestral art. The art of ukiyo-e influenced, in particular, Japanese animated films and Western cartoons.
Surimono : rare and refined prints • By Hokusai, Hiroshige, Hokkei, and Gakutei, amongst others, were executed on luxurious paper, using invaluable and sophisticated techniques. Intended for restricted circles of intellectuals or cultural elites and printed in limited numbers, the surimono woodblock prints often combined figurative compositions with poetic texts in the form of sought-after calligraphies. Representing the quintessence of Japanese refinement, these works illustrated the entire range of themes and images that were characteristic of the life and culture of ancient Japan.
Remarkable objects • The exhibition will also include crafted objects from the same era, carefully selected from private and public collections such as the Musée National des Arts Asiatiques - Guimet in Paris, the Musée des Arts Asiatiques in Nice, and the Musée de la Parfumerie in Grasse. Representations of courtesans will be accompanied by kimonos, unique hats, and other female accessories; engraved representations of legends of warriors and samurais will be complemented, amongst others, by original helmets and spectacular armour. Writing desks, utensils, and everyday objects, as well as photographic reproductions and film extracts will immerse the visitors in the daily life of ancient Japan.
A showcase for masterpieces • The last exhibition room presents three emblematic prints that are displayed one after the other in this section.
- The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai: from 8 to 21 november / from 8 to 22 March
- Light Rain at the Peak of Mount Fuji by Hokusai : from 22 November to 15 January
- Sudden Shower Over ShinOhashi Bridge and Atake by Hiroshige : from 16 January to 7 March
Each of these three remarkable prints will be complemented by three original works, displayed via immersive projection.
Curatorship • Anna Katarzyna Maleszko
Anna Katarzyna Maleszko is curator of the collection of Japanese Art in Warsaw’s National Museum and a specialist in the Japanese art of the Edo and Meiji periods. The author of many articles and essays on the art of the Far East, she has held and collaborated on many exhibitions in Poland, including those held by the Museum of Literature and by Warsaw’s National Library, the National Museum, and the Historical
Museum of Gdansk. During her many travels, she has studied the most important collections and monuments in Japan, China, and Mongolia, as well as the major Far-Eastern art collections in England, the United States, and Cana da. Cofounder and member of the Polish Institute of World Art Studies and the Polish Association of Museologists, she was awarded the Polish Silver Cross of Merit, the Merit of Polish Culture Badge, the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, and a Diploma from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for her contribution to the dissemination of Japanese culture in Poland.
Production and realisation
Milly Passigli, Delegate Director of Programming, Agnès Wolff, Cultural Production Manager at Culturespaces, Cecilia Braschi, Director of exhibitions at the Hôtel de Caumont Art Centre, Sophie Blanc, Registrar at the Hôtel de Caumont Art Centre, and Livia Lérès and Bérangère Renard, responsible for iconography at Culturespaces.
Scenography • Hubert le Gall
Hubert le Gall, a French designer, artist, and contemporary art sculptor, creates original scenographies for many exhibitions. With the help of Laurie Cousseau, he has created scenography for this exhibition that transports visitors far away from the Cours Mirabeau and immerses them in the heart of the Land of the Rising Sun. Visitors will be able to use a magnifying glass to examine the luxurious materials used as well as the delicacy of the lines and the beauty of the motifs.