Kiyochika: Master of the Night

March 29, 2014 – July 27, 2014
Fireworks at Ike-no-Hata by Kiyochika. Woodblock print, ink and color on paper.

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
1050 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC

Sublevel 1 Floor Plan

When Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847–1915) returned to his birthplace, which he had known as Edo, in 1874, he found a city transformed. Renamed Tokyo (Eastern Capital), it was filled with railroads, steamships, gaslights, telegraph lines, and large brick buildings—never-before-seen entities that were now ingrained in the cityscape. Self-trained as an artist, Kiyochika set out to record his views of Tokyo in a series of 100 prints. An 1881 fire engulfed the city and ended the project, but the 93 works he had completed were unlike anything previously produced by a Japanese artist. Created primarily at dawn, dusk, and night, the prints depict subjects veiled in sharply angled light, shadows, and darkness. In the exhibition, over half of the prints from the series are organized in themes that represent the artist’s unique visions.

Pronunciation: Kiyochika is "key yo chee ka"