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Art Diary

Meiji Modern: Fifty Years of New Japan

5 July 2024

During the Meiji era (1868–1912), Japan went through a period of rapid modernisation under the Emperor Meiji – the first monarch of the Empire – who abolished the feudal system and instigated major social, political and economic reforms. This era is the focus of this exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, which brings together some 200 works drawn from more than 70 collections worldwide to reflect Japan’s evolution into a globally-connected world power (7 July–15 September). The exhibition is organised into five sections, including ‘Making History, Enshrining Myth’ and ‘Cultivating a Modern Aesthetic’. The latter contains a vase by the influential ceramicist Itaya Hazan that was purchased from the artist by American collector Henry Walters in 1915 – a testament to the international connections forged between Japan and other nations in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Find out more from MFA Houston’s website.

Preview below | View Apollo’s Art Diary

‘This Beauty’ Poster for Mitsukoshi (1911), Hashiguchi Goyo. Darrel C. Karl Collection. Photo: Alex Jamison

Vase with low-relief decoration of bamboo leaves (c. 1915), Itaya Hazan. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

Picture of Western Traders at Yokohama Transporting Merchandise (1861), Utagawa Sadahide. Photo: © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. All Rights Reserved