Tag Archives: Museum Tours

Top Exhibition Tour: 19th Century Japanese Painter Kawanabe Kyōsai, London

The Japanese painter Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831–1889) was one of the most innovative artists of his day. He lived during a turbulent time, experiencing the downfall of the Tokugawa shogunate (the hereditary military government) and the new imperial regime’s reforms to modernise and Westernise the country. Kyōsai’s drive to capture the world with his brush earned him the nickname ‘demon of painting’ – which he lived by.

00:00 Room 1: From Tradition to Innovation

Kyōsai, as a highly trained painter, was proficient in traditional methods and subjects. He broke with convention by blurring the established boundary between ‘serious’ and comic pictures. Traditionally, complex painting techniques were reserved for literary classics, historical and legendary figures, auspicious themes and religious images. Comic pictures were typically produced in a lighter, more fluid style.

Kyōsai often saw humour in ‘serious’ subjects and introduced comic and everyday content in highly finished, detailed paintings. The selection in this room demonstrates Kyōsai’s range and skill across diverse genres. Subjects include animals, monsters, ghosts, protective deities and Buddhist icons. Some paintings display powerful Kano-style ink techniques, others depict humorous creatures – recalling works by his first teacher, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, and referencing medieval picture scrolls. He can be seen exploring Western techniques such as perspective, shading and the study of anatomy, which attests to his insatiable curiosity and desire to push beyond tradition.

04:17 Room 2: Laughing at Modernity

Kyōsai had a keen interest in society, and captured contemporary events in his pictures with humour and piquancy. His satirical prints from the 1860s, the period leading up to the collapse of the shogunate regime, reflect widespread anxiety about the political turmoil, economic instability and foreign presence. He channelled the febrile atmosphere into dynamic images of frog battles, monster parties and wildly dancing tengu (mischievous, semi-human creatures). Under the new Meiji government, the sudden influx of Western-style culture greatly shocked many Japanese, after over 260 years of relative isolation.

Kyōsai’s comic pictures express both the excitement of the new era, with modern technologies such as the telegraph and trains, and a certain scepticism towards those who blindly followed the new trends. The government’s policy of hiring European and American specialists to teach at new institutions in Japan brought the painter a personal benefit. The British architect Josiah Conder (1852–1920) became his pupil around 1881, and remained a student, patron and friend until Kyōsai’s death in 1889.

05:54 Room 3: The Artist Meets His Public

In nineteenth-century Japan, artists often produced works impromptu in front of an audience. The creative process was appreciated as a performance. At commercially organised calligraphy and painting parties called shogakai, attendees would pay for admission, and once inside, could ask the artists to create works for them at no extra charge. These gatherings were frequently a platform for collaboration. Multiple painters would complete a picture together or a calligrapher would inscribe a poem by the painter’s work. Kyōsai often depicted a scene of art viewing, and the artworks within the image would be painted by other artists.

Collaboration has always been an important part of the creative process in Japan, among artist friends or between teacher and pupils, sharing and marking the occasion. Event flyers, newspaper articles and anecdotes attest that Kyōsai was famous for his speedy, skilful and witty performances. The parties involved copious alcohol. Kyōsai loved saké and his brush became even more playful and expressive when intoxicated. Josiah Conder wrote in his master’s obituary: ‘under the influence of BACCHUS some of his strangest fancies, freshest conceptions and boldest touches were inspired.’

Walking Tours: Musée Rodin In Paris, France

The Musée Rodin in Paris, France, is a museum that was opened in 1919, primarily dedicated to the works of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin. It has two sites: the Hôtel Biron and surrounding grounds in central Paris, as well as just outside Paris at Rodin’s old home, the Villa des Brillants at Meudon, Hauts-de-Seine. 

Louvre Exhibits: ‘Pharaoh Of The Two Lands, African Kings of Napata’ In Paris

PHARAOH OF THE TWO LANDS – The African Story of the Kings of Napata

28 April – 25 July 2022

OVERVIEW

In the 8th century BC, a kingdom grew up around the Nubian capital, Napata. In about 730 BC, the Nubian king Piankhy conquered Egypt and founded the 25th Dynasty of Kushite kings, who ruled for more than fifty years over a kingdom stretching from the Nile Delta to the confluence of the White and Blue Niles. The most famous of those kings is the pharaoh Taharqa.

The exhibition highlights the importance of this vast kingdom, located in what is now northern Sudan. It is organised in connection with the Louvre’s archaeological campaign in Sudan, which focused for ten years on the site of Muweis before moving some 30 kilometres northwards to El-Hassa, not far from the pyramids of Meroe.

Museum Exhibits: Tour Of The Whitney Biennial 2022

The Whitney Biennial has surveyed the landscape of American art, reflecting and shaping the cultural conversation, since 1932. The eightieth edition of the landmark exhibition is co-curated by David Breslin, DeMartini Family Curator and Director of Curatorial Initiatives, and Adrienne Edwards, Engell Speyer Family Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs. Titled Quiet as It’s Kept, the 2022 Biennial features an intergenerational and interdisciplinary group of sixty-three artists and collectives whose dynamic works reflect the challenges, complexities, and possibilities of the American experience today.

To learn more about the exhibition visit https://whitney.org/exhibitions/2022-…

Exhibition Tours: Musée National Picasso-Paris

This exhibition celebrates the addition of nine masterpieces to the French national collections – six paintings, two sculptures and a sketchbook – via the country’s gifts-in-lieu scheme, which was introduced on 31 December 1968, allowing inheritance tax to be paid in kind. This unique acquisition mode is key to the very identity of Musée Picasso, which was founded in 1979 specifically to house the donation made by Pablo Picasso under this system.

Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and theatre designer who spent most of his adult life in France.

Art Exhibitions: ‘Winslow Homer – Crosscurrents’

Join Stephanie Herdrich, Associate Curator of American Painting and Sculpture, and Sylvia Yount, Lawrence A. Fleischman Curator in Charge—both of the American Wing—for a virtual tour of “Winslow Homer: Crosscurrents.” This ambitious survey reconsiders Homer’s work through the lens of conflict, a theme that crosses his prolific career.

A persistent fascination with struggle permeates his art—from emblematic images of the Civil War and Reconstruction that examine the effects of the conflict on the landscape, soldiers, and formerly enslaved to dramatic scenes of rescue and hunting as well as monumental seascapes and dazzling tropical works painted throughout the Atlantic world.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is Homer’s iconic “The Gulf Stream” (The Met), a painting that reveals his lifelong engagement with charged subjects of race and the environment. Featuring 88 oils and watercolors, “Crosscurrents” represents the largest critical overview of Homer’s art and life in more than a quarter of a century.

Tours: ‘Marcel Proust’ – Carnavalet Museum, Paris

The Carnavalet Museum – History of Paris is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Marcel Proust (1871–1922).

Dedicated to the relationship between Marcel Proust and Paris, where he spent most of his life, the exhibition Marcel Proust, a Parisian novel will investigate the city’s place in Proust’s novel.

The first section of the exhibition will explore the world Marcel Proust inhabited in Paris. Having been born and died in Paris, Proust’s life unfurled in the very restricted area encompassed by Parc Monceau, Place de la Concorde, Auteuil, Bois de Boulogne and l’Étoile. Paris was of immense importance in the development of Marcel Proust’s literary vocation, from the time of his earliest writings in the late 1890s with his fellow-pupils at the Lycée Condorcet, to his entry into the city’s high society and encounters with people who would be decisive to his life.

The second part of the exhibition opens on the fictional Paris created by Marcel Proust. Following the architecture of the novel In Search of Lost Time and evoking emblematic places in the city, it offers a journey through the novel and the history of the capital, focusing on the book’s central characters. The city of Paris, represented poetically in the novel, is the setting for the quest of the narrator, the author’s alter ego, until the revelation of his vocation as a writer.

Museum Tour: ‘Van Gogh And The Olive Groves’ (4K)

‘Van Gogh and the Olive Groves’ (11 March 2022 – 12 June 2022).

Van Gogh made fifteen paintings of olive groves, constantly experimenting with various approaches. Fascinated by the gnarly shapes of the olive trees and their ever-changing colours, he painted them over and over. He painted at different times of the day and used colours inspired by the season. Vincent himself considered his paintings of olive trees to number amongst the best he had made in the South of France.

This exhibition reunites Van Gogh’s paintings of olive groves and exhibits them together for the first time, thanks to unique loans from museums in Europe and the United States.