As of 8 November 2019, the Hôtel de Caumont Art Centre will be holding an exhibition of Japanese costumes and culture dating from the Edo era (second half of the eighteenth century to the first half of the nineteenth century) the exhibition will include 200 ukiyo-e prints and other remarkable objects that will be presented to the French public for the very first time. Most of the works are from the Jerzy Leskowicz Collection, which is one of the largest of its kind in the world.
As well as ancient objects and manuscripts, the Jerzy Leskowicz Collection currently comprises 1,800 ukiyo-e prints, executed by the great masters Harunobu, Utamaro, Sharaku, Hokusai, Hiroshige including masterpieces such as Hokusai's Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (1832–1833), as well as an ensemble—which is unique in France— of no woodblock prints, which will constitute the core of the exhibition. Rare and refined prints, made from precious materials and using particularly elaborate techniques, the no woodblock prints combined figurative compositions with poetic texts. Printed in limited numbers, they were intended for restricted circles of intellectuals or cultural elites. Representing the quintessence of Japanese refinement, these works illustrated the entire range of themes and images that were characteristic of the life and culture of ancient Japan presented in the exhibition: natural motifs and scenes of daily life the representation of actors performing in the kabuki theatre and the beautiful inhabitants of Yoshiwara still lifes relating to New Year celebrations and war and erotic scenes, heroes, and traditional legends. This ensemble of particularly precious prints is complemented by other major works by the same artists, as well as by famous names such as Harunobu, Utamaro, Koryūsai, Sharaku, Toyokuni, and Kunisada. Echoing the imagery of the no, these prints highlight all the technical and iconographic variety of a fascinating ancestral art.
Via a thematic itinerary, the exhibition will also include crafted objects from the same era, carefully selected from the collections of the Musée Guimet in Paris, as well as from the Leskowicz Collection and other private collections. Representations of courtesans will be accompanied by sumptuous and colourful kimonos, unique hats, and other female accessories engraved representations of legends of warriors and samurais will be complemented by original swords and spectacular armour. Writing desks, utensils, and ritual objects, as well as photographic reproductions and film extracts will immerse the visitors in the daily life of ancient Japan. The exhibition will enable visitors to discover the Land of the Rising Sun and to become familiar with the traditional technique of wood engraving.
Curatorship : Anna Katarzyna Maleszko, curator of the collection of Japanese art in the National Museum in
Warsaw and a specialist in the Japanese art of the Edo and Meiji periods.