This year, we in Paris are blessed with lots of great expositions around Japan. Earlier this year, there was the extraordinary Hukosai expo at the Musée Guiment. Today I visited the Courtisans expo at the Cernuschi. In mid-October, the Petit Palais will be putting on Zen and Japan. Fantastic!
The expo at the Cernuschi opened today. It is relatively small and occupies the first floor of the museum. There are 5 rooms in all. The entrance way features panel painting from the XVIIth century but the low light makes it a bit difficult to appreciate them. Further on are some first images of the girls of Yoshiwara. Those from Moronobu are particularly interesting. Passing into the next room, a series of large panels in full portaits are hung. In particular, I appreciated the heavy lines of Choyodo Anchi. There are some XVIIIth century paintings including a few geisha by Kitagawa Utamaro and one piece from Chobunsai Eishi. The following room has a magical, misty scroll from Eichi that I was crazy about. The final room has one scroll from Hiroshige with a courtisane and a demon which is amazing in both its understatement and its expressiveness. There is a Hokusai as well but not nearly as important or beautiful as those presented at the Guimet expo.
The catalog (€49) is beautiful and thoughtfully presented with pullout pages for better appreciating the panel work and scrolls. Unfortunately, the binding quality is poor and on my first perusal, some pages actually came unglued 😦
The expo costs €7.50 and lasts until mid-November for Part 1. Part 2 then starts (for another €7.50 of course). Good news is that both Parts 1 and 2 are covered in the expo catalog.