Exquisite large-scale folding screens, displayed together with contemporary ceramics, reveal three centuries of Japanese artistic traditions and styles. Unfolding Worlds is a unique installation that features works from the New Orleans-based Gitter-Yelen Collection, one of the most comprehensive private holdings of Japanese art in the United States.
The remarkable presentation showcases more than 25 large-scale painted screens from leading artists active in Japan between the 17th and 20th centuries, exhibited with some 35 ceramic works created by master and emerging ceramists in Japan from the 1950s to today.
The selection offers outstanding examples of six-panel folding screens commissioned during the Edo period (1615–1868) and the Meiji period (1868–1912). Monumental screens by artists from the Zenga, Rinpa, Maruyama-Shijō, and Ukiyo-e schools demonstrate the important role of individuals in the transition from the classical to the modern period in Japanese painting. The exhibition also includes works by 18th-century artists who were considered “eccentrics,” and works by artists active during the 20th century.
The beautiful painted screens are complemented by concentrated groups of Japanese ceramics created since the 1950s that demonstrate the breadth of aesthetics seen in the contemporary period. Some objects echo historical Japanese ceramics with traditional forms and glazes; additional works reflect currents in Western abstraction and decoration; and still others reveal new avenues of creativity in form and technique.
For information about the illustrated catalogue Unfolding Worlds: Japanese Screens from the Gitter-Yelen Collection, contact the MFAH Shop (713.639.7360) or the Museum’s Hirsch Library (713.639.7325).