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  Kitagawa Utamaro, Cherry Blossoms at Yoshiwara, c. 1793

Utamaro and the Lure of Japan

7 January 2017 - 26 March 2017
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art | Hartford, CT, USA

For the first time in over 130 years, two monumental scroll paintings by Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806) – one of the greatest artists of Japan’s ukiyo-e tradition – have been reunited at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

The exhibition brings together “Fukagawa in the Snow” (1802-1806), from the Okada Museum of Art in Hakone, Japan, and the Wadsworth Atheneum’s own “Cherry Blossoms at Yoshiwara” (1793). In addition to the two iconic scrolls, the show displays more than 50 objects, including paintings, prints, textiles, porcelain and armaments taken from the Atheneum’s 1,000-object collection of Japanese art.

Ukiyo-e depicts the “floating world” of ephemeral everyday life - particularly the pleasures of love and entertainment. Kitagawa Utamaro was especially known for his portraits of beautiful women, and the two captivating paintings included in the exhibition specifically celebrate the courtesans who lived in the famous pleasure districts of the time.

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Kitagawa Utamaro, Cherry Blossoms at Yoshiwara, c. 1793, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, 1957.17

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