Japan and France's artistic links explored in new exhibition

 Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858). Fuji from Yoshiwara (14th station), from the series Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō 1833–34. Print. Paris, Musée National des Arts Asiatiques-Guimet. © RMN-Grand Palais (MNAAG, Paris) / Harry Bréjat

Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858). Fuji from Yoshiwara (14th station), from the series Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō 1833–34. Print. Paris, Musée National des Arts Asiatiques-Guimet. © RMN-Grand Palais (MNAAG, Paris) / Harry Bréjat

The connections between Japan and France will be explored in a new exhibition set to open at Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Japanese Connections features 41 artworks and 15 documents by 12 artists, including French artists Paul Sérusier, Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Ker-Xavier Roussel, Édouard Vuillard who made up the renowned Nabis group of artists; Marguerite Sérusier and Odilon Redon; and five Japanese ukiyo-e masters: Katsushika Hokusai, Hara Zaimei, Utagawa Hiroshige, Kano Tanshin and Toshusai Sharaku.

The Western fascination with Far Eastern aesthetics dates back to 1853 when Japan’s trade opened to the West for the first time in 220 years. In particular, woodblock prints and paintings in the iconic ukiyo-e style influenced some of Europe’s most renowned painters as well as the subject matter such as female beauty and social and historical traditions.

 Maurice Denis (1870-1943). October, also known as October Evening, 1891. Oil on canvas. Musée d’Orsay, Paris. Photo © RMN-Grand Palais (musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski.

Maurice Denis (1870-1943). October, also known as October Evening, 1891. Oil on canvas. Musée d’Orsay, Paris. Photo © RMN-Grand Palais (musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski.

Japanese Connections: The Birth of Modern Decor will present 10 prints and three screens from Japan in dialogue with 24 paintings and three screens from France. The Japanese works include South Wind, Clear Sky from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (1831-32) and Yôrô Waterfall in Mino Province (1830-1834) by Katsushika Hokusai, the most renowned ukiyo-e master; Utagawa Hiroshige’s Tôto Sumida tsutumi (1858); and a six-leaved screen depicting a Cherry Tree in Blossom on a Plain Gold Ground by Hara Zaimei.

Édouard Vuillard’s Public Gardens (1894), Pierre Bonnard’s folding screen Nannies Promenade, Frieze of Carriages (1897); Paul Sérusier’s Women at the Spring (1899) and The Field of Corn and Buckwheat (1900); a series of decorative panels by Odilon Redon; and Rolling Landscape (1900), a four-leaf screen by Marguerite Sérusier, are among the French pieces.

The works have been assembled from the collections of Louvre Abu Dhabi, Musée d’Orsay, Musée national des Arts asiatiques - Guimet and Musée des Arts Décoratifs (MAD).

The exhibition will be accompanied by public programming celebrating the arts and culture of Japan, including curatorial talks and a Big in Japan festival on October 26 and 27, which will feature DJs, spoken word poetry, screenings of Studio Ghibli anime films and Japanese cooking classes.

The Manga Lab, a creative and experimental space for teenagers and young adults will offer a variety of entertaining experiences to explore contemporary Japanese culture, including virtual reality, retro arcade gaming, a graffiti and expression wall, a chill-out reading area, and a series of masterclasses and workshops about Manga and graphic art. Located in Louvre Abu Dhabi’s forum.