Ota Museum, the art of printmaking   浮世絵太田記念美術館

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During the Edo period (1603-1868), ukiyo-e, low world of misery and suffering was all about fun and associated with the ephemeral beauty of life.

During the Edo period (1603-1868), ukiyo-e, low world of misery and suffering was all about fun and associated with the ephemeral beauty of life.

Painted on a canvas or a fan, engraved or illustrated, the 12,000 works of Ota museum reflect everyday life in the Edo period.

Painted on a canvas or a fan, engraved or illustrated, the 12,000 works of Ota museum reflect everyday life in the Edo period.

Ota Museum in Harajuku (Tokyo) includes works by the great masters but also less famous artists.

Ota Museum in Harajuku (Tokyo) includes works by the great masters but also less famous artists.

Paintings of behaviors

One of the finest collections of ukiyo-e , "images of the floating world", or the art of painting and Japanese prints, is preserved in a small museum, away from the fashionable streets of Harajuku .

The pleasure districts, teahouses and theaters inspire the creators of ukiyo-e. This term originally meant "worldly misery and suffering." Synonymous, in the Edo period (1603-1868), with pleasure and associated with the ephemeral beauty of existence, it is now the artistic testimony of the former shogunal capital, Edo (now Tokyo). A picture of behaviors, capturing emotions.

Silent gaze

Opened in 1980 in Harajuku, this museum of reference holds over twelve thousand works. In this modestly sized institution (just 800 m2), to see the exhibits you must remove your shoes at the entrance and put on a pair of slippers. Here, silent viewing prevails. Because of their fragility, and so that the works are not affected by the light, the  works in the halls are changed every month. Thus, the exceptional state of preservation and the quality of colors are protected as much as possible despite the ravages of time.

Hokusai and Hiroshige

Paintings on rolls or fans, engravings enhanced with colors, first by hand and then with a multi-color printing technique and a few illustrated books tell stories, simply. Scenes of picturesque streets, bucolic views, courtesans, merchants, children and kabuki actors at the top of the bill have been captured by inveterate traveler and landscape painter Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), the old drawing crazy Hokusai (1760-1849) and the life portrait artist Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806), but also by less renowned masters, all equally sensitive to the time that passes ...

The passion of a man

Most of the museum's collection consists of pieces acquired by Seizo Ota V (1893-1977), starting from the 1920s. From the early twentieth century, the vogue for Japonisme in Europe and the United States deprived the people of the island Empire of an important part of their pictorial heritage. This collector wanted to remedy this. With passion, and without interruption  until his death, the man embraced, often sensual, images of a floating and vanished world.

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