Komai Tetsurō, Vision of a Moment, 1950.
In 1961 the Japanese government presented the Ashmolean Museum with a set of forty works by Japan’s leading contemporary print artists. The gift was part of a cultural exchange between the UK and Japan, and also celebrated the establishment of a new Eastern Art Department in the museum.This exhibition commemorates the 60th anniversary of this extraordinary gift and of the founding of the Eastern Art Department. It includes a range of abstract and figurative works, including woodblock prints, mezzotints and lithographs – all examples of sōsaku hanga ‘Creative Prints’, made by artists who embraced modernist ideals of artistic self-expression. While Creative Print artists had begun transforming Japanese printmaking in the first decades of the twentieth century, it was in the 1950s that they first achieved widespread international acclaim. ‘Vision of a Moment’ presents a snapshot of the art of Japanese printmaking at this golden moment in its history.