After visiting the exhibition on kimonos at the Musée du Quai Branly, we crossed the Seine to see the one on Hiroshige and the fan.
The prints presented in the exhibition were produced between 1830 and 1850. They reveal the graphic inventiveness and diversity of Hiroshige’s work. The fans are decorated with a variety of themes: famous sites in Edo, landscapes of Japanese provinces, compositions of flowers and birds, female portraits, historical and literary scenes or parodic images.
Hiroshige produced over six hundred and fifty prints to decorate this seasonal and ephemeral accessory. The flat bamboo fan (uchiwa) became popular in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1868), and became one of the creative mediums of the masters of the Japanese ukiyo-e school of painting. Initially sold during the summer by peddlers or on the occasion of festivals, they became prized by print and illustrated book dealers when they began to be signed by famous artists. Most of these fans have now disappeared, as they were ephemeral objects. We know their illustrations thanks to the uncut prints that were never mounted on their frames. They have been preserved by print publishers and collectors.
The Guimet Museum exhibition presents a selection of the finest works from the Georges Leskowicz Collection, the most important private collection of fan leaves by Hiroshige.
If you weren’t able to see the exhibition, I recommend the small catalog published for the occasion. It contains beautiful reproductions of the fans on display.
I’ll leave you with photos of my favorite fans. Enjoy your visit!