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Painting Edo: Selections from the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art

Painting Edo: Selections from the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art

$ 35.00

A sweeping and lavishly illustrated overview of a transformative era in Japanese art-making, as told through superb examples from the finest private collection of Edo period painting in the United States.

By Rachel Saunders and Yukio Lippit

ISBN: 9780300250893
164 pages; 9 3/4 × 11 1/2 in.
215 color & b/w illustrations
Published by Harvard Art Museums
Distributed by Yale University Press

Japan’s Edo period (1615–1868) witnessed the arrival of peace after centuries of warfare, together with increased urbanization brought about by economic prosperity and population growth. The arts of the period flourished in turn, both reflecting and inflecting these fertile conditions. A diverse and immensely prolific crop of artists drew from tradition and the classical past while finding new means to depict contemporary life. Painting Edo: Selections from the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art explores this rich visual culture, highlighting works from the unparalleled collection of Robert and Betsy Feinberg to showcase the masters of various Edo schools and lineages.

Beautiful illustrations of the finest paintings from this celebrated collection punctuate the catalogue’s two essays. First, Yukio Lippit situates the works within a broad cultural history of early modern Japan: he weaves discussion of the era’s techniques, formats, and modes of display into ten framing narratives that consider such concepts as the “true view” and the “floating world,” among several others. Rachel Saunders then focuses on the career of a single artist, Sakai Hōitsu, wading into the literal and figural weeds of his late “bird-and-flower paintings” to emerge with a fresh perspective on these exquisitely layered, symbolically loaded pictorial gardens. Together, these essays unpack the literary, artistic, and cultural histories that form the basis for how these masterful works would have been received in their time—and for how we can best understand them today.

The related exhibition, Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection, which coincides with the runup to the 2020 Olympics in Japan, is on display at the Harvard Art Museums from February 14 to July 26, 2020. 

A complete catalogue of the Feinberg Collection will be published by the museums in late Summer 2020. 

Rachel Saunders is the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Curator of Asian Art at the Harvard Art Museums. Yukio Lippit is the Jeffrey T. Chambers and Andrea Okamura Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University.

Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection was made possible by the Robert H. Ellsworth Bequest to the Harvard Art Museums, the Melvin R. Seiden and Janine Luke Fund for Publications and Exhibitions, the Catalogues and Exhibitions Fund for Pre-Twentieth-Century Art of the Fogg Museum, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the Thierry Porté Director’s Discretionary Fund for Japanese Art, and the Japan Foundation. The accompanying print catalogues were supported by the Harvard Art Museums Mellon Publication Funds, including the Henry P. McIlhenny Fund.

Related programming is supported by the M. Victor Leventritt Lecture Series Endowment Fund, Harvard University’s Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, and the Department of History of Art and Architecture Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund for Art and Architecture.

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