Paris Fall Art Expositions: Hokusai at the Grand Palais (until mid-January 2015)

hokusai_paysage_0There are quite a few big expos in Paris this fall, the most interesting, for me anyway, is that of Hokusai at the Grand Palais. I saw this one twice actually – once on my own and once with my daughter’s preschool class. It was very interesting to see the expo through my own eyes and then through the eyes of 21 5-year olds. It is a huge exhibit (like most of them at the Grand Palais) and more frequented right now than that of Nikki de Saint Phalle (in the other large exposition space at the Grand Palais around the corner). It was absolutely packed both times I was there. My daughter’s teacher said that a week earlier, the queue was over 3h long! Yes, Hokusai brings out the crowds. Is it the iconic “Wave” drawing that brings them out in droves or just Ukiyo-e in general? Has anyone really heard of the artist Hokusai or are they just drawn to Fuji-san like flies to the fire? It is hard to say. In any case, the exposition does a good job of surveying his entire career – with a massive collection of his drawing notebooks – the original manga – and naturally the infamous wave and Mount Fuji wood cuts. There is an excellent film in the atrium between the two floors of the exhibit about how the wood cuts are made and how the drawings are pressed. As I said earlier, the crowds are ginormous so head there early or arm yourself with courage and patience in order to really enjoy it. The catalog (50€) is excellent and a great way to go back over the images because there are SO many things to see in this expo. So many, in fact, that the entire exposition (with the notable exceptions of the wave and Fuji-san) will be changed in mid-December to expose the other half of the collected works. In other words, it is a good idea to go now and then in a month or so to get a grasp of the vast work represented here. There are few artists that were as dedicated to their art and the transmission of the techniques to later generations as Hokusai and this expo does an excellent job of demonstrating this. I can vouch for it in both an individual visit and with the kids but probably with a spouse or girlfriend it would also be excellent food for thought.


About mfinocchiaro

IT Architecture Guru for large PLM software company but dabbling in Web 2.0 and other stuff.
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