Continuing through August 28, 2011
While Katsushika Hokusai is best known for a series of woodblock prints featuring views of Mount Fuji, including his best-known work "The Great Wave," he also was a highly prolific draughtsman. The Crow Collection, luckily, has affiliations with one of the collectors of these marvelously dynamic gems. As a genre these prints remain rampantly alive and were gathered in their day as manga, or "whimsical pictures." One work, "Ebisu, God of Fortune, carrying a Sea Bream; fisherman; Hotei, God of Fortune, with fan and simmering pot," features three separate ink-on-paper works that were cut and pasted onto a single sheet. We're shown fleshy bellies, taut calves and the fluidity of oriental robes as the three figures leap or lounge.
Taken alone, they're highly intriguing, but you become aware that Hokusai is in the lineage of artists that influenced the likes of Claude Monet and August Renoir, they become even more compelling. There is a resonating jubilation in Hokusai's technique that served as a precursor for the Impressionists. If you examine his curving shapes and splendid celebration of life's simple pleasures, you'll witness work from a studio that may have originated in the Orient but has informed some of the West's most impressive artists. Not to mention our imaginations. Given the current news in Japan, it's a perfect time to remember their exquisite aesthetic sensibility. It's terrific, indeed.
The Crow Collection of Asian Art