Worcester Art Museum Presents Complete Hiroshige Print Series

WORCESTER, MASS., August 20, 1999 - For the first time this century, the Worcester Art Museum will show its complete set of Ando Hiroshige's most popular prints in the exhibition Hiroshige: 53 Stations on the Tokaido, on view from October 30, 1999 to January 16, 2000.

Created in the early 1830s by one of Japan's most famous artists, this set of 55 oban prints depict Hiroshige's journey from the shogun's city of Edo to the ancient capital of Kyoto where the emperor lived. Full of details of everyday life along the famous eastern sea road, these outstanding prints are from the Museum's renowned John Chandler Bancroft Collection.

Hiroshige first traveled over the Tokaido in the summer of 1832, when he joined the annual mission to escort gift horses from the shogun to the emperor. There was constant travel on the Tokaido at that time, and the government established barriers and checkpoints along the way to prevent private citizens from journeying at night. Each of the 53 stations along the Tokaido had its own personality and catered to the desires and needs of travelers with inns, restaurants, teahouses, and souvenir shops. In addition, from various locations along the highway, travelers could view many of Japan's most famous beauty spots, such as Mount Fuji and the beaches at Miho.

No written record of Hiroshige's journey on the Tokaido exists, so we know of his adventure only through his prints. A brief introduction on the cover sheet of the series by the poet Yomo no Takisui states, "Hiroshige sketched in detail not only incidents that he witnessed at the various stations along the way, but also famous buildings, mountains, rivers, and trees, nor has he omitted the travelers whom he encountered. So vivid are his sketches that anyone who views the prints, even though he may never have seen the Tokaido, will feel that he is actually on the road."

Related Events:

Curator's Talk

Join Elizabeth de Sabato Swinton, the Worcester Art Museum's director of collections and exhibitions/curator of Asian art, for an informal tour of Hiroshige: 53 Stations on the Tokaido, on November 16, at 7:00 p.m. For the first time this century, you can enjoy Hiroshige's most popular series in its entirety and learn about one of Japan's most celebrated artists. The cost is $6.00 for members and $8.00 for non-members.

Oriental Brush Painting Landscape Series

In this overview of Chinese landscape painting, instructor Sue Yang will discuss aspects of art appreciation such as the Three Perfections and other key concepts of Oriental brush painting. She will review three traditional subjects: Pine Tree, Willow, and Mountains; and include a short introduction to lettering. Emphasis will be on the Sung Dynasty style.

The class will be on Saturday, September 18, September 25 and October 2, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tuition, which includes ink, nine sheets of paper and brush, is $210 for members and $240 for non-members. To register, call the Education Department at 508-799-4406, X-3056 or X-3060.

Museum Background

Opened to the public in 1898, the Worcester Art Museum is the second largest art museum in New England. Its exceptional 35,000-piece collection of paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, photography, prints and drawings is displayed in 36 galleries and spans 5,000 years of art and culture, ranging from Egyptian antiquities and Roman mosaics to Impressionist paintings and contemporary art. Throughout its first century, the Worcester Art Museum proved itself a pioneer: the first American museum to purchase work by Claude Monet (1910) and Paul Gauguin (1921); the first museum to bring a medieval building to America (1927); a sponsor of the first major excavation at Antioch, one of the four great cities of ancient Rome (1932); the first museum to create an Art All-State program for high school artists (1987); the originator of the first exhibition of Dutch master Judith Leyster (1993); and the first museum to focus its contemporary art programs on art of the last 10 years (1998). The Museum's hours are: Wednesday through Sunday, 11am-5pm, and Saturday 10am-5pm. Admission: FREE for members; Non-members: $8 Adults; $6 Seniors and full-time college students with current ID; FREE for youth 17 and under; FREE for everyone Saturday mornings 10am-noon sponsored by The TJX Companies and Massachusetts Electric Company. For more information, call (508) 799-4406 or visit the Museum at 55 Salisbury Street in Worcester.