24.08.2011  •  Art NEWS


Hokusai - Retrospektive - master Katsushika Hokusai on display for 10 weeks at Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau

Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) is still generally considered one of the most important artists in Japan today. His arguably most famous picture is the woodcut 'The great wave at Kanagawa' from the series '36 views if Mt. Fuji' (1823-29).

For the first time in Germany, the Martin-Gropius-Bau is dedicating an exhausting retrospective to the artist, featuring over 440 on-loan art works from all of his creative periods. Many of which had never ever left Japan before and they are to be shown in Berlin for ten weeks only.

The works also present the timeless nature of the artist's style, which we are sure will also be reflected in the visitor numbers.

Katsushika Hokusai (jap. 葛飾 北斎, Katsushika Hokusai; * probably on 31 October 1760 in Warigesui (today: Sumida, Tokio); † 10 May 1849 in Henjōin) was one of the greatest Japanese Ukiyo-e artists.

Hokusai was born in Edo, now known as Tokyo in the ninth month of the tenth year of the Horeki period, his parents are unknown. At the age of three, he was adopted by Nakajima Ise (中島伊勢), a mirror maker in the Shogun's court.

At eighteen, he joined the studio of Ukiyo-e master Katsukawa Shunsho, an important artist of coloured wood block prints. In 1779 he published his first works; actor prints with distinct individual facial expressions, under the name Katsukawa Shunrō (勝川 春朗). He left his master's workshop after his death in 1793. He continued to use the name Shunrō until 1794.

Afterwards Hokusai travelled across Japan. A period of restlessness followed and he constantly changed his master and schools, as well as his name (he changed this 30 times) and address (90 times). However, he made sure his art work was constantly improving, perfecting his technique as he travelled. He illustrated books and in 1782 he published his first work featuring his own illustrations.

From 1798 onwards he took on his own students and taught them the art of wood block printing and illustration. In that very same year he began working under the name of Katsushika Hokusai, which has remained his name to this very day.

Hokusai - Retrospektive
Niederkirchnerstr. 7
D-10963 Berlin
Opening Times: Wed - Mon, 10am–8pm, closed on Tuesdays