Exhibition: Modern Japanese Lacquer (Rijksmuseum)

Date of event:   01/07/2022 − 04/09/2022

Title: Modern Japanese Lacquer
Duration: 1 July until 4 September 2022
Institution: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The fascinating art of lacquer painting could be described as essentially Japanese. It’s painting presents a dream world inspired by the nature of classical Japanese literature. The creation of lacquer art demands incredible feats of concentration and attention, sometimes over a period of years, with their scenes made up of many dozens of meticulously painted layers of lacquer.

Lacquer painting, with its history stretching back millennia, is deeply rooted in Japanese culture. In the early 20th century, artists searching for a new visual idiom brought significant innovations to the art form. This is precisely the moment at which the exhibition begins.

Despite the many developments in this period, artists were criticised for lacking innovation. Their frustration at this prompted a struggle for recognition that forced them to reinvent themselves. And this they did, with great success, leading to an explosion of creativity, personal design, and expressive use of colour. In the exhibition this evolution culminates in the almost photographic depiction of a cormorant on a rock in the surf. The exhibition presents these developments in the form of almost 70 artworks.

The accompanying English-language catalogue Breaking out of Tradition: Japanese Lacquer 1890-1950, by Jan Dees, is published by Hirmer Verlag.

For more information, please visit the website here.