Anticipating Spring: Monet, Gallé, Bonnard, and Japanese Paintings
Dec. 15(Sun), 2019 - Apr. 5(Sun), 2020
Exhibition room 2
Artists have depicted nature and the changing seasons since ancient times. The beauty of the four seasons in Japan is an important theme in Japanese art, referred to as setsugetsufuka (snow, moon, wind, flower - meaning the beautiful natural scenery of the four seasons). The transition from winter to spring, the most dramatic one, has been portrayed with many nuances.
There are scenes of leaves falling from trees, cold wind blowing against bare branches and tree trunks, and falling snow, but the most transformed landscapes are those with details eliminated by a cover of snow. Snow scenes were depicted in Japanese medieval picture scrolls and have been a common traditional Japanese art theme since that time. The subject, however, was not widespread in Western art until modern times.
The warmth, young buds and leaves, and colorful flowers of spring, particularly plum, peach, apricot, and cherry blossoms, have been considered auspicious in Japanese painting since ancient times. The features of spring expressed in Western painting tend to include oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruits in addition to flowers.
Claude Monet, Sunset on the Seine in Winter, 1880
Maurice Utrillo, La Belle Gabrielle, 1912
Emile Gallé, Vase with Snowscape Design, ca. 1897-1900
Fujishima Takeji, Spring Scene at Shodo-shima, 1936
Pierre Bonnard, Mediterranean Garden, 1917-1918