top of page

Hokusai - Nice at the foot of Mount Fuji

The Departmental Museum of Asian Arts presents in Nice until January 29, 2023 an exceptional exhibition of one hundred and twenty-six prints by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) from the collection of Georges Leskowicz.

Paul Cezanne Nature morte aux pommes 1893 – 1894 . The J Paul Getty Museum
Katsushika Hokusai - Vue du Mont Fuji © Fundacja Jerzego Leskowicza

Illustrious Japanese painter and engraver, Katsushika Hokusai has signed his works with more than sixty names throughout his career. One of his pseudonyms was "Gwakyojin" (the drawing-crazed old man). His prints were among the first to be imported into Europe from the Far East. Among the many European painters who appreciated Hokusai, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, among others. Toulouse-Lautrec imprints on him his ways of drawing with a reed, of schematizing the forms, sometimes adding a touch of humor

Very early in his career, as from the 1780's, Hokusai incorporated Western perspective into his depictions of cityscapes, famous sites, architecture, and historical scenes.

 Hokusai, Sous la vague au large de Kanagawa, série Les Trente-six vues du mont Fuji, 1830. Estampe de brocart (nishiki-e), 25,5 x 37,7 cm © Fundacja Jerzego Leskowicza
Hokusai, Sous la vague au large de Kanagawa 1830 © Fundacja Jerzego Leskowicza

Published from 1814 to 1848, La Manga (abundant drawings) is one of his most famous collections, which brings together more than 3900 drawings, which mix landscapes with fable and the history of the little people, warriors, monsters, ghosts.

As early as 1818, Hokusai produced seven series of prints on the Tōkaidō route ("East Sea Route") which connects Edo (now Tōkyō), the shogunal capital since 1603, and Kyoto, the imperial capital. This set, the only one in a vertical medium format, depicts the habits and customs of travelers in a decor relegated to second place.

In 1820, as a new sixty-year astrological cycle began, Hokusai took the name Iitsu, literally "one year old again". From 1830, in the space of four years, he produced three short series which are among his most famous, taking as subjects landscapes, famous sites but also classical literature.

Hokusai, Numazu, série La Clochette des relais, 1805-1806. Estampe de brocart (nishiki-e), 23,4 x 17,5 cm © Fundacja Jerzego Leskowicza
Hokusai, Numazu 1805-1806. Estampe de brocart © Fundacja Jerzego Leskowicza

The year 1831 saw the publication of the thirty-six views of Mount Fuji, prints in which Hokusai often used Prussian blue and where he combined Western, Chinese and Japanese composition techniques.

In 1835-1836, under the name of Manji (“Aged ten thousand years”), Hokusai undertook to translate into images one hundred waka poems collected in an anthology at the beginning of the 13th century, very popular and known through recitation games.

The exhibition is produced in partnership with the Jerzy Leskowicz Foundation, the Jules Chéret Museum of Fine Arts (Nice), the Saint-Remi Museum (Reims), the Asian Arts Museum of Toulon, the Jean-Christophe Charbonnier Gallery (Paris ).

© DR Département 06

It puts into perspective 144 works by Hokusai, about whom Whistler wrote in a lecture translated by Mallarmé:

"...satisfied that the story of the beautiful is complete, already, carved in the marbles of the Parthenon and chiselled with birds on Hokusai's fan at the foot of Fuji-Yama".

405, promenade des Anglais

06200 Nice

Tél: 33(0)

In his art history lectures, Fabrice Roy combines the past with the present, in a poetic and playful evocation of the French 19th century...


bottom of page