Friday 7 February 2020

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki presents an unprecedented exhibition of rare and extraordinary art from Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), opening Saturday 7 March 2020.

Enchanted Worlds: Hokusai, Hiroshige and the Art of Edo Japan includes more than 70 paintings sourced from private art collections. Including delicate silk paintings, precious scrolls, folding screens and vibrant woodblock prints, this exhibition explores the wonder, mystery and enduring popularity of art from this period.

The exhibition presents a captivating introduction to the characters, places and pastimes of a flourishing era during Japan’s more-than 250 years of self-imposed isolation from the world. See life as it was captured by the most popular artists of the period, including Katsushika Hokusai, Andō Hiroshige, Kitagawa Utamaro and Keisai Eisen.

Known as ukiyo-e, or pictures of the ‘Floating World’, the artworks in this exhibition encompass the seductive charms and entertainments of the Yoshiwara Pleasure Quarter of Edo (Tokyo) with its beautiful courtesans and expressive actors. There are iconic depictions of popular and seasonal landmarks, including rare paintings of snow-capped Mount Fuji, waterfalls, rivers and blossoming trees. Visitors will also be introduced to the symbolic world of animals and to the imaginary realms of myth and legend, inhabited by dragons and fantastic beings.

Enchanted Worlds: Hokusai, Hiroshige and the Art of Edo Japan will demonstrate the enduring influence of Edo-period art through the inclusion of two digital artworks from celebrated contemporary artist Tabaimo and renowned international art collective teamLab. Using 21-st century technologies, both animate and bring to life the mysterious beauty of the Floating World evoked in woodblock prints and golden screens.

Auckland Art Gallery Director Kirsten Paisley says: ‘Hokusai, Hiroshige and their contemporaries worked in a mode of art that continues to intrigue and delight audiences today. Painted centuries ago, at the core of this exhibition are over 70 examples of the most-prized form of painting from this period. These original works on paper or silk are extremely rare and scarcely seen outside Japan.’

Enchanted Worlds: Hokusai, Hiroshige and the Art of Edo has been curated by Japanese scholar, Rossella Menegazzo (Università degli Studi di Milano Statale), in collaboration with Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki curators, and is organised by MondoMostre, Italy.

Exhibition details

Enchanted Worlds: Hokusai, Hiroshige and the Art of Edo Japan

Saturday 7 March 2020 to Monday 1 June 2020
10am–5pm daily

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Cnr Kitchener and Wellesley Streets
Auckland, New Zealand

New Zealand adult $19
New Zealand concession $19
Members and Members guests FREE
Children under 12 FREE
Separate charges apply for international visitors

For more information, images and interview requests contact:
Samantha McKegg
Communications Officer, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
M +64 21 548 480 | E   

One Enchanted Night: Exclusive Launch

Saturday 7 March


Join us for an evening of art, music and live entertainment in celebration of our latest major exhibition, Enchanted Worlds: Hokusai, Hiroshige and the Art of Edo Japan. Soak up the golden hour sunlight on our enchanting, Japanese-inspired rooftop terrace before exploring the captivating world of Edo Japan as seen by the period’s most popular artists.

For more information click here

Image credit: Utagawa Toyokuni Iwai Hanshiro V (detail)
circa 1810, hanging scroll, ink and colour on paper.
Private collection.

Press release - English
1.34 MB PDF file
Press release - Japanese
1.50 MB PDF file