Selling exhibitions are the best way for the general public to find out more about the performance of talented artists, look at their works and even buy some of them. The present selling exhibition titled The Beauty of Asian Culture presents six paintings by Asian painters. The exhibition will take place in the middle of May in the Metropolitan Museum of Arts. It is a part of a major program that targets raising public awareness of Asian culture and history. The present selling exhibition, alongside the meetings with prolific modern painters of Asian origin and lectures on the history of Asian art, is a part of the program initiated by the museum.
The main artworks that will be shown during the exhibition were painted by Paul Jacoulet, Utagawa Hiroshige, and Kano Tansetsu. These painters are known for their immense contribution to Asian and world art, and their paintings remain popular among the connoisseurs of Asian culture. Paul Jacoulet was born in 1896 in Paris but moved to Japan with his parents, which explains his interest and passion for the Japanese language and traditions. He started to paint at the age of eleven but became a full-time artist in th1921 (Jacoulet, Paul (1896-1960), n.d.). Woodblock prints constitute the major part of his artworks, though he also created carvers and prints. Jacoulet worked as his own publisher and gained popularity among the Western audience after the end of World War II. Jacoulet’s artworks highly varied in subjects portrayed in them since he painted the daily routines of the aristocracy and the simple lives of ordinary people.
The exhibition The Beauty of Asian Culture has three paintings written by Paul Jacoulet. The first of his artwork is Jade Lady, Chinese, which was painted in 1940 and is the most popular print made by Jacoulet. The woodblock print was donated to the Mable Ringling Museum of Art by private collectors in 2018. The audience can clearly see that the painting shows a Chinese noble woman dressed in black with jade jewelry which means that she pertains to the aristocracy. The predominant colors of the artwork are different shades of red and black, and their combination creates a contrast that makes the painting vivid and attracts the attention of the viewers. The quality of the print is great, and the work did not lose its outstanding colors even though it was painted more than seventy years ago.
The second picture by Paul Jacoulet presented in the exhibition is his work Fleurs du Soir, created in 1941. It is a woodblock print that portrays a woman who is standing out of doors, presumably, on a balcony. She wears, apparently, a nightgown since it is clear from the picture that the action on it takes place either at night or late in the evening. Behind the woman, the audience can see a plant that may be a magnolia, which grew in the gardens of Japanese and Chinese aristocracy. The picture’s colors are deep and bright, and the quality of the print is outstanding.
The third picture was written probably by Paul Jacoulet as well since the style, and the manner of painting are similar to those of the previous two. The artwork displays San Shin, a Korean local mountain spirit that is shown according to Korean canons. The viewers see an older man sitting under a tree in Confucian clothing. Apart from him, the picture contains the image of his servant located in the background and the image of an animal that San Shin is holding. The picture gives the viewers an understanding of what the Korean mountain deity looks like and immerses people in the country’s history.
The second artist whose works are presented in the exhibition is the Japanese painter Utagawa Hiroshige, who lived in the 19th century. He is one of the most prolific Japanese painters who worked in the traditional woodblock printing technique (Utagawa Hiroshige, n.d.). Hiroshige created primarily landscapes that portrayed Japanese nature in its everyday beauty. His unconventional manner and style of painting, together with the rich colors of his pictures, formed an immense interest in the artwork collectors and other painters all over the world. That is why his paintings that display outstanding Japanese nature remain popular in the modern world.
The first masterpiece by Hiroshige that will be shown at the exhibition is Full Moon at Mochizuki, painted in 1832. The picture is a part of the series Sixty-nine Stations of the Kisokaidō (Utagawa Hiroshige, n.d.). It shows not only the beautiful landscape lightened by the full moon but also ordinary Japanese people who go to the Mochizuki station, which exists in Japan even now. Though the landscape is quite simple, Hiroshige managed to transfer its beauty that only enhanced with the fall of the night and the appearance of the full moon. The artwork is vivid and captures attention at first sight.
The second landscape written by Hiroshige that will be shown during the exhibition is titled Snow Falling on a Town. The picture was painted between 1847 and 1852, and it portrays a small Japanese town in winter as well as the mountains that surround it. The contrast between the deep blue sky and bright white snow makes the viewers feel the atmosphere of winter in Japan. Small figures of people that are seen in the streets show that the town continues to live its peaceful life even though the seasons change.
The artwork of Kano Tansetsu, the third painter, presented in the exhibition, is titled Sage with Attendants and Crane under a Plum Tree. It was created in 1683 and pertained to the Edo period in Japanese culture that lasted from 1615 till 1868 (Harvard Art Museums, n.d.). The picture portrays an elderly male and two children sitting under a plum tree that is starting to bloom. The man is, presumably, the children’s educator, who teaches them different things. The predominant color in the picture is yellow, and its application and absence of other bright colors on the background creates an effect of fog surrounding the man and children. It creates an effect of isolation from the outer world, which contributes to children’s better understanding of what the teacher says to them.
All the artworks described in the brochure will be shown in The Beauty of Asian Culture exhibition that will take place in the Metropolitan Museum of Arts in the middle of May 2022. The selected arts are unique and worth seeing by the general public because they reflect different aspects of the Asian versatile and outstanding culture. After seeing these pictures and knowing more about their history and the painters who wrote them, people will better understand the Asian culture and traditions. Moreover, they will be able to feel the atmosphere of the old Asian countries and learn how people used to live there, which will help them better understand their mode of life at present.
Harvard Arts Museum (n.d.). Kano Tansetsu – Sage with attendants and crane under a plum tree. Harvard Arts Museum. Web.
Paul Jacoulet (1896-1960). (n.d.). Castle Fine Arts. Web.
Utagawa Hiroshige (n.d.). The Art Story. Web.