The British Museum

Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave

“From the age of 6 I had a mania for drawing the shapes of things. When I was 50 I had published a universe of designs. But all I have done before the age of 70 is not worth bothering with.”

— Katsushika Hokusai

Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) is widely regarded as one of Japan’s most famous and influential artists. He produced works of astonishing quality right up until his death at the age of ninety. This exhibition led you on an artistic journey through the last 30 years of Hokusai’s life – a time when he produced some of his most memorable masterpieces.

Throughout the exhibition, outstanding examples of Hokusai’s work illustrated the artist’s creative breadth and depth. A selection of superb landscapes was introduced with the iconic Great Wave – itself part of a print series of views of Mt Fuji. Intimate domestic scenes capture fleeting moments in private lives. Exquisite depictions of flora and fauna display an innate skill in representing the natural world. The artist’s imagination is given full rein in the portrayal of supernatural creatures such as ghosts and deities. Through all of these works, Beyond The Great Wave explores Hokusai’s personal beliefs and delivers a fascinating insight into the artist’s spiritual and artistic quest in his later years.

The exhibition included prints, paintings and illustrated books, many of which on loan from Japan, Europe and the USA.

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see these extraordinary works together was supported by Echo with artworking, printing and installation of the array of graphics, including; canvas prints, vinyl wall coverings and cut vinyl signage.

Photography © Trustees of the British Museum