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Hokusai Exhibition at the Grand Palais

26 November 2014


Unique Opportunity to View Works by the World's Most Famous Japanese Artist in Paris

As the only Japanese person to feature in Life Magazine's 1999 list of 'The 100 Most Important Events and People of the Past 1,000 Years', it is fair to assume that the work of artist Katsushika Hokusai is of great importance. An expansive exhibition of his work in Paris is therefore a truly exciting event for art aficionados and novices alike, made even more significant as many pieces may not venture onto western shores again. Some featured works will be taking up permanent residence at an Institute in Tokyo dedicated to the artist next year, however in the meantime over 500 pieces are on show at the Grand Palais until the 18th of January 2015. The influence of his artwork, including 'The Great Wave off Kanagawa', appears to have transcended time, inspiring many great artists, including van Gogh, in and outside of his lifetime...and we encourage you to take this one-off opportunity to get truly inspired.

Hokusai in Paris

Born in 1760, Hokusai's unique and diverse range of artwork spanned 70 of his 89 years of life, varying from decorative Edo Rimpa style paintings, to his famous ukiyo-e woodblock prints of 'Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji'. Six decades of books, drawings, paintings and prints have been co-curated by Laure Dalon and Seiji Nagata for the Grand Palais exhibition, with the aim of showcasing a complete retrospective. Their wish is to introduce many to his cultural impact beyond 'The Great Wave off Kanagawa'. As one of the thirty six views, it combines principles of Japanese art and western influences in what has become an iconic image depicting a gigantic wave crashing down on three fishing boats and their crews, with Mount Fuji pictured in the background.

Nature was a great source of inspiration for Hokusai's work and exhibit pieces featuring birds, flowers and landscapes reflect this, however it was the artist's interest in daily life in Japan that differentiated him from his peers. His volumes of Manga include detailed examples of this and have inspired many artists since. It wasn't until the 1867 Paris Exposition Universelle that Hokusai's work began to be recognised internationally, helped by the rising popularity in Japanese art and culture referred to as Japonism. French artists such as Degas sought inspiration from Hokusai's sketchbooks when painting the human form, while Émile Gallé decorated vases with the artist's carp sketches. Paris is therefore a fitting city in which to display Hokusai's work, for what may be the final time outside of Tokyo.

Grand Palais

When referring to Hokusai, co-curator and Assistant Scientific Director of the Réunion des Musées Nationaux, Laure Dalon thinks his work is "...able to inspire today's creators" and "...there's a real freedom and modernity in his work, in his brush stroke, in the way he drew...there's a real modernity in his connection to the world." And the same could still be said for the Grand Palais. As an incredible achievement in architecture when built in 1900, the structure has continued its influence in Paris for over 100 years; attracting fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld to showcase his latest Chanel collections and inspiring Prince to host impromptu concerts when admiring the Nave. There are two phases of the exhibition due to the fragility of works; the second begins on the 30th of November 2014 in which approximately 100 pieces will be replaced by those similar in design. With luxury accommodation at the five-star Hotel de Vigny located a mere 15 minute stroll from the venue, use this unique opportunity to take your time and take in every last detail of Hokusai in Paris until January the 18th 2015.

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