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Seductive Smiles

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  • Seductive Smiles: Masterpieces of ukiyo-e paintings from the Weston Collection

    The Ueno Royal Museum
    20 November 2015 – 17 January 2016

    The collection of ukiyo-e paintings held by Roger Weston, a Chicago-based Japanese art collector and a trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago, is counted among the world’s finest and largest. This exhibition presents, all together at once, 129 pieces specially selected from the collection.

    When speaking of “ukiyo-e” (pictures depicting the manners of a period), many think of works of print, such as the prints of actors by Sharaku, Japanese beauties by Utamaro and landscapes by Hokusai and Hiroshige. Distinguished from prints, the paintings produced on silk or paper are called “nikuhitsu” (brush-drawn) ukiyo-e. The ukiyo-e paintings reveal the painters’ sophisticated techniques, seen in such representations as finely drawn hairline and the limbs glimpsed through the sheer fabric.

    At this exhibition, trace the history of beauties in a variety of costumes and hairstyles, from the early Edo period to the Meiji era, through paintings of more than 50 artists – including Utamaro Kitagawa, Toyokuni Utagawa, Hokusai Katsushika and Kyosai Kawanabe. Discover each painter’s ideal beauty.

    One more plus, the exhibition uses the latest Japanese technologies such as LED and OLED lights and high transparent acrylic panels. This enables visitors to better appreciate, at a close distance, the works’ original colours and delicate brush strokes.

    Ueno Royal Museum "Ukiyoe Weston Collection" (article by amuzen) 葛飾北斎「美人愛猫図」 絹本一幅 享和〜文化年間(1801〜18) ©WESTON COLLECTION

    Hokusai Katushika “Woman with a Cat” 1801-18, hanging scroll; ink and color on silk ©WESTON COLLECTION

    Ueno Royal Museum Weston Collection exhibition (article by amuzen) 初代歌川豊国「時世粧百姿図」(一部) 絹本二十四葉 文化13年(1816) ©WESTON COLLECTION

    Toyokuni Utagawa “100 Looks of Various Women” (detail) 1816, album of 24 leaves; ink and color on silk ©WESTON COLLECTION

    Ueno Royal Museum "Seductive Smiles" (article by amuzen) 菱川師宣「江戸風俗図巻」(部分)  絹本一巻 元禄年間(1688~1704)頃

    Moronobu Hishikawa “Picture Scrolls of Genre Scenes of Edo” (detail) c.1688-1704, hand scroll; ink and color on silk ©WESTON COLLECTION

  • Place name The Ueno Royal Museum
    (in Japanese) 上野の森美術館
    Website go to website  The exhibition’s website
    go to website  The Ueno Royal Museum (in Japanese)
    Phone 03-5777-8600 (Hello Dial)
    Dates  20 November 2015 – 17 January 2016
    *There will be an exhibition change
    Closed on Mondays and 1 January 2016
    *Open on the national holidays: 23 November (Mon) and 11 January (Mon)
    Opening hours 10 am – 5 pm (last admission 4:30 pm)
    *until 8 pm on Fridays (last admission 7:30 pm)
    Price ¥1,500
    (University and high school students: ¥1200, senior and junior high school students: ¥500)
    Address 1-2, Ueno Kōen, Taitō-ku, Tokyo]
    Getting there
    • 3 min walk from Ueno Station (JR lines: Park Exit)


* The above is the information known at the time of publication and subject to change without prior notice.



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