Katsushika Oi, Three Women Playing Musical Instruments, c. 1818-44, hanging scroll; ink and color on silk. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

FORT WORTH, TX.- The first exhibition to highlight the world’s largest and finest collection of Japanese ukiyo-e paintings will be on view at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth from February 11 to April 29, 2007. "Drama and Desire: Japanese Paintings from the Floating World, 1690-­1850" is drawn from the unrivaled holdings of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and features 67 masterpieces by such renowned artists as Hokusai, Utamaro, and Harunobu, illustrating the so-called ‘floating world’‹the pleasure quarters of Edo (modern-day Tokyo), which were frequented by actors, courtesans, rich patrons, and bohemians. While many of these artists are well known in the West for their woodblock prints, the unique, custom-made paintings they produced are far more rare. These exquisite paintings depict elegant interiors with beautifully dressed courtesans, expressive portraits of Kabuki actors, and large screens that vividly illustrate the varied activities and denizens of the pleasure quarters, as well as contemporary life in Edo. Most of the paintings in the exhibition are being shown for the first time, giving museum visitors an unprecedented opportunity to view these intriguing works. (courtesy


Utagawa Toyoharu, Pleasure Outing at Mukojima to View Cherry Blossoms, c. 1781-1801, hanging scroll; ink, color, gold, and mica on silk. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, William Sturgis Bigelow Collection.