Inventing Utamaro: A Japanese Masterpiece Rediscovered
In 2014, the Okada Museum of Art in Hakone, Japan, made an announcement that startled the art world. The new arts center revealed it had discovered a long-lost painting by Kitagawa Utamaro (1753–1806), a legendary but mysterious Japanese artist.
Titled Snow at Fukagawa, the immense work is one of three paintings by Utamaro that idealize famous pleasure districts in Edo (now Tokyo). This trio reached the Paris art market in the late 1880s and was quickly dispersed. Museum founder Charles Lang Freer acquired Moon at Shinagawa in 1903. Cherry Blossoms at Yoshiwara passed through several hands in France until the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut, purchased it in the late 1950s. And Snow at Fukagawa had been missing for nearly seventy years before it resurfaced in Hakone.
For the first time in nearly 140 years, these paintings reunite in Inventing Utamaro at the Freer|Sackler, the only location to show all three original pieces. Contextualizing them within collecting and connoisseurship at the turn of the twentieth century, the exhibition explores the many questions surrounding the paintings and Utamaro himself.
Resounding: Bells of Ancient China
Musical innovations in the Bronze Age meld with today’s digital technology in this interactive exploration of ancient Chinese bells. Thousands of years ago, Chinese musicians worked with foundry technicians to cast matched sets of bronze bells of different sizes to produce a range of tones. They developed oval-shaped bells that, depending on where they were struck, produced two distinct pitches with an intentional interval between them. Resounding investigates this advancement, with displays of early instruments and a bell set discovered in a Chinese tomb, videos of ancient bells being played, and chances to compose your own music on bronze bells.
Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt
Cats were worshiped long before they ruled the Internet, as revealed in Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt. Cat coffins and representations of the cat-headed goddess Bastet are among the extraordinary objects that reveal felines’ critical role in ancient Egyptian religious, social, and political life. Dating from the Middle Kingdom to the Byzantine period, the nearly seventy works include statues, amulets, and other luxury items decorated with feline features, which enjoyed special status among Egyptians. The exhibition, organized by the Brooklyn Museum of Art, also dedicates a small section to cats’ canine counterparts.
Now on viewThe Art of the Qur'an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
Through February 20, 2017
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