Exhibition: Breaking out of Tradition – Japanese Lacquer 1890 to 1950 (Museum für Lackkunst)

Date of event:   23/09/2021 − 12/12/2021

Title: Breaking out of Tradition: Japanese Lacquer 1890 to 1950
Duration: 23 September 2021 to 12 December 2021
Institution: Museum für Lackkunst, Muenster, Germany


The special exhibition Breaking out of Tradition presents nearly 60 lacquer objects from collections and museums in the Netherlands, Great Britain, Switzerland, and the USA. The show focuses on the last decade of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, illuminating the dynamics of political and cultural change and continuity.

The arts and crafts of Japanese lacquer had fallen into a deep crisis after the Edo period and the decline of domestic patronage. At the turn of the century, however, the art scene changed, and lacquer experienced a new flowering. Surrounded by a cultural landscape with state-sponsored exhibitions and art institutions following Western traditions, lacquer artists fought for recognition and critically confronted traditional expectations and manufacturing methods. Established artists completely reinvented their approaches towards design and making. Young artists broke with the principles and aesthetics of their teachers. Progressive décor and design concepts reflect the open-mindedness of the period and the drive for innovation and change.