Picturing Place in Japan

Japanese, Edo period, 1615–1868, Ike Taiga 池大雅, 1723–1776. Mount Fuji. Hanging scroll; ink on paper. Princeton University Art Museum acquisition from the Gitter-Yelen Collection

The representation of place has been a dominant subject of Japanese painting throughout history. Sometimes these scenes evoke the topography of an actual location, but often the place depicted was imagined or based primarily on past images. Featuring a number of significant loans from the Gitter-Yelen Collection of Dr. Kurt A. Gitter and Alice Yelen Gitter, along with past Museum acquisitions from that collection and works drawn from the holdings of the Princeton University Art Museum and Princeton’s Marquand Library, Picturing Place in Japan will take viewers on a journey through space and time.

The exhibition includes nearly forty paintings, prints, books and photographs, from the sixteenth through the twenty-first centuries, that collectively explore the varied meaning of place to Japanese artistic practice over these epochs. For Japanese artists, pictures of place were a means of exploring brushwork and form, as well as evoking poetry, paradise, distant China, sacred locations and the familiar or remote famous places of Japan.

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The exhibition was curated by Andrew M. Watsky, Professor of Japanese Art and Archaeology, and Caitlin Karyadi, PhD candidate, Department of Art and Archaeology, with Cary Y. Liu, Nancy and Peter Lee Curator of Asian Art. 

Picturing Place in Japan is made possible by the Allen R. Adler, Class of 1967, Exhibitions Fund; the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art, Princeton University; the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; and the Partners of the Princeton University Art Museum.