Japanese Prints of Kabuki Theater from the Collection of the University of Michigan Museum of Art

October 15, 2016 - January 29, 2017

Kabuki actors were superstars in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Japan. They were admired by passionate fans with an insatiable appetite for images of them, fed by a publishing industry that mass-produced colorful woodblock prints of actors on stage that could be cheaply purchased as souvenirs of or substitutes for a theater experience. Japanese Prints of Kabuki Theater from the Collection of the University of Michigan Museum of Art presents a selection of these dramatic prints that connected fans to their idols, including off- or backstage portrayals that satisfied fans’ voyeuristic curiosity about their favorite actors’ lives, fantasy scenes of actors in unlikely groupings, and even death portraits of especially famous actors. This introduction to the visual culture surrounding kabuki theater includes prints by major artists such as Utagawa Toyokuni (1769–1825), Utagawa Kunisada (1786–1865), Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861), and Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900).

Lead support for Japanese Prints of Kabuki Theater from the Collection of the University of Michigan Museum of Art is provided by the University of Michigan Office of the Provost, the National Endowment for the Arts, the William T. and Dora G. Hunter Endowment, AISIN, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and the University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies. Additional generous support is provided by the Japan Foundation, Japan Business Society of Detroit, and the University of Michigan Institute for Research on Women and Gender.

Images

Kitagawa Utamaro. Complete Illustrations of Yoshiwara Parodies of Kabuki: Courtesans of the Matsubaya, 1798, color woodblock print on paper. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker, 1948/1.185-187

Katsukawa Shunshō. Iwai Hanshirō IV as an Onnadate, second half of the 18th century, color woodblock print on paper. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Museum purchase, 1960/1.156

Utagawa Kunisada. Praying for Hits in the Waterfall of Answered Prayers, 1863, triptych, color woodblock print on paper. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Gift of Pearl Sellards, 1985/1.171A-C

Toyohara Kunichika. Twelve Hours of Magic, Hour of the Sheep: Iwai Hanshirō VIII as Princess Teruda from The Heroic Tales of Jiraiya, 1877, color woodblock print on paper. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Gift of Dr. James Hayes, 2003/1.416

Timeline

Exhibition Timeline

SatOct 15
Exhibition Opens
Sun
Oct 30
2016
An Intimate Look: Images of Kabuki Theaters and Actors in the Edo Period of Japan for Generalists
2:00pm3:30pm
Artists and Curators / Exhibitions Related
Fri
Nov 4
2016
An Intimate Look: Images of Kabuki Theaters and Actors in the Edo Period of Japan for Specialists
10:00am12:00pm
Artists and Curators / Exhibitions Related
Fri
Nov 4
2016
UMMA Dialogue: Celebrity Culture and the Art of Japanese Kabuki Prints
6:30pm8:00pm
Artists and Curators / Exhibitions Related
Sun
Nov 6
2016
Japanese Prints of Kabuki Theater from the Collection of the University of Michigan Museum of Art
2:00pm3:00pm
Gallery Talks and Tours
Sun
Dec 4
2016
Japanese Prints of Kabuki Theater from the Collection of the University of Michigan Museum of Art
2:00pm3:00pm
Gallery Talks and Tours
Sun
Jan 8
2017
Japanese Prints of Kabuki Theater from the Collection of the University of Michigan Museum of Art
2:00pm3:00pm
Gallery Talks and Tours
Sun
Jan 29
2017
Japanese Prints of Kabuki Theater from the Collection of the University of Michigan Museum of Art
2:00pm3:00pm
Gallery Talks and Tours
SunJan 29
Exhibition Closes