Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection

, Special Exhibitions Gallery, University Research Gallery, University Teaching Gallery, University Study Gallery, Harvard Art Museums
  • Painting Edo—An Introduction
  • Lecture—“Painting Edo” Exhibition Opening with Rachel Saunders and Timon Screech
  • Standing Courtesan
  • Mount Fuji, Miho Pine Forest, and Seikenji Temple
  • Old Trees in Lonely Springtime
  • Tribute Bearers to the Chinese Emperor
  • Mount Fuji
  • Moons of the Four Seasons
  • Pine Trees in Snow
  • Birds and Flowers of the Twelve Months
  • Spring Flowers
  • Mount Fuji and Mount Tsukuba
  • The Parrot King
  • Puppies with Hotei and Jittoku
  • Celebration at the Entrance of the New Yoshiwara
  • Grasses and Moon
  • Ode to the Red Cliff
  • Cranes
  • Fish and Turtles
  • Flowers of the Four Seasons
  • Pines of Miho
  • Race at Uji River
  • Ink Landscape
  • Taira no Tsunemasa Playing the Biwa at Tsukubusuma Shrine
  • Tiger in a Rainstorm
  • Landscape in a Rainstorm
  • Early Evening at a Yoshiwara Inn
  • Egrets and Kingfisher amongst Lotus
  • A Portuguese Trading Ship Arrives in Japan
  • Broken Branches Drawn from Life
  • Lanting Pavilion
  • Lone Traveler in Wintry Mountains
  • Visiting the Thatched Cottage in the Bamboo Grove
  • Chinese Landscape
  • Morning Glories
  • Thistles
  • Minamoto no Yorimasa Aiming an Arrow
  • Eight Fans of Seasonal Flowers and Plants
  • Waves at Matsushima
  • Views of Lake Biwa at Sakamoto
  • Chinese Roses and Sweetfish
  • Waterfall and Pines
  • Lotus in Autumn
  • Precipitous Rocks and Rushing Water
  • Lotus Pond
  • Mountain Hut and Scholar Viewing Plum Blossoms
  • The Poet Su Shi and Meng Jia Loses His Hat
  • Dragon in a Storm
  • Crossing a Mountain Stream by a Bridge
  • Seated Beauty
  • Segawa Kikunojō III as the Shirabyōshi in “Musume Dōjōji”
  • Landscapes of the Four Seasons
  • Peach Blossom Spring
  • A Thousand Mountains in Deep Verdure
  • The Ivy Way through Mount Utsu
  • Pampas Grass and Arrowroot
  • Flowers of the Four Seasons
  • Harvesting Bamboo Shoots in Winter
  • Lilies
  • Snow, Moon, and Flowers
  • Momoyogusa (Flowers of a Hundred Worlds)
  • Deer Washing a Fawn
  • Bamboo on a Stormy Day
  • The Immortal Li Tieguai
  • Kanbun Beauty
  • Peacock and Peonies
  • Quiet Pleasure in the Mountains
  • Spring Cherry Blossom Viewing and Autumn in the Yoshiwara
  • The Four Accomplishments
  • Horse Racing at Kamo Shrine
  • Arashiyama in Spring and Takao in Autumn
  • Seven Chinese Immortals
  • Ukifune (from the Tale of Genji)
  • Old Pine
  • Fans of the Twelve Months
  • White Chrysanthemums and Snow-covered Reeds
  • Sparrows Alighting on Wisteria
  • Autumn Flowers
  • A Visit to Li Ning’s Secluded Dwelling and Wang Ziyou Visiting Dai Andao
  • Landscape
  • Autumn Maple Trees
  • Chinese Musicians
On View Locate on Floor Plan Special Exhibitions Gallery, University Research Gallery, University Teaching Gallery, University Study Gallery, Harvard Art Museums

Painting Edo — the largest exhibition ever presented at the Harvard Art Museums — offers a window onto the supremely rich visual culture of Japan’s early modern era. Selected from the unparalleled collection of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, the more than 120 works in the exhibition connect visitors with a seminal moment in the history of Japan, as the country settled into an era of peace under the warrior government of the shoguns and opened its doors to greater engagement with the outside world. The dizzying array of artistic lineages and studios active during the Edo period (1615–1868) fueled an immense expansion of Japanese pictorial culture that reverberated not only at home, but subsequently in the history of painting in the West.

By the early 18th century, the new shogunal capital of Edo (present-day Tokyo) was the largest city in the world. After centuries of conflict and unrest, the growing stability and affluence of the period encouraged an efflorescence in the arts. Artists creatively juxtaposed past and present, eternal and contingent, elegant and vulgar in a wide range of formats and styles, from brilliant polychrome compositions to monochromatic inkwork. Painting Edo explores how the period, and the city, articulated itself by showcasing paintings in all the major formats—including hanging scrolls, folding screens, sliding doors, fan paintings, and woodblock-printed books—from virtually every stylistic lineage of the era, to tell a comprehensive story of Edo painting on its own terms.

An illustrated publication accompanies the exhibition. Painting Edo: Selections from the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art is a sweeping and lavishly illustrated overview of a transformative era in Japanese art-making as told through highlights from the finest private collection of Edo period painting in the United States.

Robert and Betsy Feinberg have generously promised their collection of over three hundred works of Japanese art to the Harvard Art Museums. Judiciously assembled over more than four decades, the collection offers an exceptional opportunity to explore continuities and disruptions in artistic practice in early modern Japan. The stewardship of the collection by the museums ensures access by students, faculty, scholars, and the public, and allows for teaching, research, and further documentation of these important works. A complete catalogue of the Feinberg Collection will be published by the museums in late Summer 2020.

Organized by the Harvard Art Museums. Curated by Rachel Saunders, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Curator of Asian Art, Harvard Art Museums; with Yukio Lippit, the Jeffrey T. Chambers and Andrea Okamura Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University.

Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection was made possible by the Robert H. Ellsworth Bequest to the Harvard Art Museums, the Melvin R. Seiden and Janine Luke Fund for Publications and Exhibitions, the Catalogues and Exhibitions Fund for Pre-Twentieth-Century Art of the Fogg Museum, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the Thierry Porté Director’s Discretionary Fund for Japanese Art, and the Japan Foundation. The accompanying print catalogues were supported by the Harvard Art Museums Mellon Publication Funds, including the Henry P. McIlhenny Fund.

Related programming is supported by the M. Victor Leventritt Lecture Series Endowment Fund, Harvard University’s Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, and the Department of History of Art and Architecture Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund for Art and Architecture.

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Online Resources

Take a tour of Painting Edo on Google Arts & Culture.

Learn more about the exhibition in our series of videos on Vimeo, including an introduction by Rachel Saunders, two short thematic Art Talks, and a recording of the opening night lecture “Into the Kaleidoscope: Painting in Edo Japan” by Timon Screech (SOAS University of London).