PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) announces a new exhibition of one of the most celebrated works of Japanese art, the Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido by master printmaker Utagawa (Andō) Hiroshige. The series depicts the spectacular landscapes and interesting characters encountered along the journey from Edo (now Tokyo) to the imperial capital Kyoto. Central to the exhibition are CMOA’s prints from the first Hōeidō edition; 55 in total, created between 1831 and 1834. This will be the first time in 25 years that the entire series has been on view at the museum.
The Tokaido road was the most heavily-traveled route between these two important cities, figuring heavily into popular Japanese art and culture in the mid-1800s. Hiroshige made hundreds of images on the subject throughout his career.
Visitors can follow the progress of the journey along the gallery walls, moving from location to location. In a unique twist, visitors will see examples from Hiroshige’s other series on Tokaido—Reisho, Gyosho, Kichizo, and Aritaya editions—to illustrate the artist’s varied approach to the same subject and innovations of vantage point, perspective, and scale. The exhibition will also feature multiple impressions of the same Hōeidō print to demonstrate variations in the color woodblock printing process, stressing the uniqueness of each singular impression. Different representations of the same station will branch out from the main “path” of the Hōeidō set.
Two different impressions of the same print:
“We’re very fortunate to have an amazing collection of Japanese prints at CMOA” said curator Akemi May. “Having Hiroshige in such depth allows us to nerd-out a little and talk about what makes a good print versus a great print. Their sensitivity to light makes them difficult to display year-round, so this will be quite a treat our visitors will surely love.”
Hiroshige’s Tokaido Road will be on view from March 24 to July 8, 2018.