George Segal Gallery Presents “The Enchanting Art of Japan”

Free month-long exhibition explores three centuries of Japanese art

Utagawa Hiroshige (also known as Ichiryusai Hiroshige, 1797-1858) and Gototei Kunisada (also known as Toyokuni III, 1786-1865), Prince Genji with Lady and Servants by A Bridge Overlooking A River, ca. 1852-1853, triptych from the Tale of Genji (Genji Monogatari), 16 1/16 x 32 3/16 in., polychrome woodblock print, Tsuta-Ya Kichizo, publisher, Montclair State University Permanent Collection from the Estate of Ellen W. Studdiford.

Japanese art from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries is the focus of The Enchanting Art of Japan, a new free exhibition at the George Segal Gallery at Montclair State University that is on view through April 18.

The Enchanting Art of Japan exhibition, which is curated by Segal Gallery director M. Teresa Lapid Rodriguez, explores three centuries of Japanese art, from 18th-century and 19th-century Edo art through the 20th century.

The exhibition includes five Ukiyo-e style woodblock prints depicting scenes from everyday life in 19th- and 20th-century Japan by such master printmakers as Yoshitoshi Tsukioka and Utagawa Hiroshige. Western painters such as Edgar Degas and Vincent Van Gogh were strongly influenced by Hiroshige, even purchasing his prints to study his technique.

According to curator M. Teresa Lapid Rodriguez, initially there was a lack of information about the prints. “Once the works of art were identified, they present a cohesive body of work pertaining to an interesting and enchanting period in the history of Japan.”

Also featured are two Bunjinga or Zen monochrome ink paintings on paper. Traditionally, these landscape paintings were accompanied by verse.

Japanese kimonos have no pockets. Netsuke are miniature sculptures originally designed to attach the cord of a pouch or basket containing items that would otherwise go in pockets to a kimono’s sash, or obi. The Enchanting Art of Japan features several round, sculptural Katabori-Netsuke, as well as examples of Karakuri-Netsuke, which have moving parts that open to reveal hidden “surprises,” on loan from the Helene Kosloski Collection. A 20th-century sculpture from the University’s permanent collection is also on display.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Gallery will present “All the Tea In Japan/History and Culture,” a lecture and tea tasting highlighting the historic and cultural significance of tea in Japan, on Saturday, April 11 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Chris Cason, Montclair State alumnus, cofounder and tea sommelier for the international tea brand Tavalon Tea, will lead the program. Featured teas include Brown Rice Tea, Twig Tea and Roasted Tea. Admission to this event is $10 per person and reservations are required. To reserve a seat, call 973-655-6941 or email somerwitze@mail.montclair.edu by April 8. Seating is limited and purchased tickets are nonrefundable.

The Enchanting Art of Japan is made possible in part by funding from the New Jersey State Counsel on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and the McMullen Family Foundation.

The George Segal Gallery is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Thursdays from 12:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Admission to the gallery is free.