Kawanabe Kyōsai was one of the most exciting Japanese painters of the 19th century. Discover his work – some of which has never been seen before – in his first UK exhibition in nearly 30 years.
Known for his independent spirit, Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889) is among Japan’s most important master painters. Witty, energetic and imaginative, his art continues to influence numerous artistic styles today, from manga to tattoo art.
Overlooked for decades, particularly compared to his earlier counterparts, Hokusai and Hiroshige, Kyōsai is now celebrated for his ability to bridge popular culture and traditional art.
Having initially studied under ukiyo-e artist Kuniyoshi, he combined his subsequent academic training to create his own revolutionary style, creating images from the terrifying and awe-inspiring, to the sweet and endearing.
Drawing from one of the finest collections of the artist’s work in the world, this exhibition brings together highly finished paintings, woodcut prints and illustrated books, as well as impromptu paintings (sekiga) created at sometimes raucous calligraphy and painting parties (shogakai).