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Martin-Gropius-Bau Announces Hokusai – Retrospective

The Martin-Gropius-Bau presents Hokusai – Retrospective 26 August to 24 October 2011.

For the first time in Germany a major retrospective is to be devoted to the world-famous Japanese artist Hokusai (1760–1849). Perhaps his best-known picture is the woodcut: “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” from the series: “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” (1823–29). Over 350 loans, which with few exceptions come from Japan, will be on display in the exhibition in Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau. NAGATA Seiji, the leading Japanese authority on Hokusai and his work, will be curating the exhibition, which is to be seen exclusively in Berlin. Works from all periods of the artist’s career – woodcuts and drawings, illustrated books, and paintings – will be shown.

In 2000 Life Magazine ran a survey to find out who were the most significant artists in world history. Hokusai came 17th, ahead of Picasso. The exhibition – which covers the entire span of Hokusai’s creative activity, extending well over 70 years – offers convincing evidence of the genius of this great artist. In the course of his life he used over thirty pseudonyms. Today he is known to the world under just one of these names: Hokusai. His full name was Hokusai Katsushika.

Hokusai was born in Honjo, a district of Edo, in 1760. Today Honjo is part of the Sumida district in Tokyo, as Edo was renamed after the Meiji Restoration of 1868. The municipal authorities in Sumida are planning to devote a new museum to the world-renowned artist who spent most of his life in Edo. Some items of the collection intended for the museum will now be on view for a few weeks in Berlin. Many of the works have never been seen outside Japan.

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