8 November 2014 - 25 January 2015
Sublime landscapes along Japan’s major trade routes, a young courtesan with a lascivious air, a kabuki theatre actor striking a dramatic pose – the woodblock prints of the ukiyo-e present a fascinating image of life in seventeenth to nineteenth-century Japan.
The Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt am Main has in its holdings the rare early ukiyo-e prints from the Johann Georg Geyger collection as well as the masterworks of the Otto Riese collection – and thus one of the most superb inventories of this great Japanese art form in Europe.
The Museum was presenting a selection of the valuable prints from the Collections of J. G. Geyger and Otto Riese. Numbering more than 240 in total, the works from the two collections provide a fascinating image of life in a country almost completely isolated from the rest of the world during the period in question – from the early / mid seventeenth century until about 1850.
The spectacular landscapes experienced on journeys and pleasure trips, the heroes of the kabuki theatre, but also erotic adventures – they all became the subjects of masterful prints that usually cost no more than a bowl of noodle soup and enjoyed great popularity throughout the bourgeois society of Edo-Period Japan (1603–1868). The presentation focused on the rhythms of the seasons, thus linking the autumn, winter and spring with the rituals and conventions practised by the people.
The exhibition Bursting with Life II featured altogether some 90 woodblock prints. As a sequel to the first successful exhibition presented by the Museum Angewandte Kunst from April to October 2013, it further enhanced the viewers’ insights into the museum’s valuable ukiyo-e holdings.
The exhibition catalogue “Heroes of the Stage and Beauties of the Night: Masterpieces of Japanese Woodblock Printing from the Otto Riese and Johann Georg Geyger Collections” investigates these works in greater depth. Additional research material has been made available to the public on the website www.ukipedia.de.
Curator: Dr. Bernd Jesse
Exhibition Director: David Beikirch