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Maruyama Ōkyo, Peacock and Peonies,  1768, Edo period, 1615-1868. Hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on silk. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.17. Photo: John Tsantes and Neil Greentree © Robert Feinberg.

The Harvard Art Museums present Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection, a special exhibition of more than 120 of the finest works from the preeminent collection of Robert S. (Harvard class of 1961) and Betsy G. Feinberg; the exhibition runs through July 26, 2020.

Painting Edo offers a window onto the supremely rich visual culture of Japan’s early modern era and explores how the Edo period (1615–1868), and the city of Edo (present-day Tokyo), expressed itself during a time of artistic renaissance. A striking array of paintings in all the major formats will be on display—hanging scrolls, folding screens, sliding doors, fan paintings, and woodblock-printed books, among others—from virtually every stylistic lineage of the era, telling a comprehensive story of Edo painting on its own terms. 

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Tani Bunchō, Japanese (Edo 1763 - 1840), Mount Fuji1802, Edo period, 1615-1868Hanging scroll; ink on paper. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.36. Photo: John Tsantes and Neil Greentree © Robert Feinberg.

“Painting Edo is one of the largest exhibitions ever presented at the Harvard Art Museums—and fittingly so, since the Feinberg Collection is one of the largest gifts of art ever promised to this institution,” said Martha Tedeschi, the Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard Art Museums. “We are immensely grateful to the Feinbergs, whose great care and vision will ensure that the beauty and material ingenuity of these works reach viewers today and for generations to come.”

Robert S.and Betsy G. Feinberg generously promised their collection of more than 300 works of Japanese art to the Harvard Art Museums in 2013. Judiciously assembled over nearly fifty years, the collection—the finest private collection of Edo period Japanese painting in the United States—offers an exceptional opportunity to explore continuities and disruptions in artistic practice in early modern Japan. The museums’ stewardship of the collection ensures access by students, faculty, scholars, and the public, and allows for teaching, research, and further documentation of these important works.

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Mochizuki Gyokusen, Japanese (1834 - 1913), Moons of the Four Seasons1911, Meiji period, 1868-1912. Set of four hanging scrolls; ink, light colors, gold and silver paint on silk. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.36© President and Fellows of Harvard College

The Feinberg Collection is notable not only for its size and remarkable quality, but also for its comprehensiveness. It comprises representative paintings from virtually every stylistic lineage of the era: from the gorgeous decorati ve works of the Rinpa School to the luminous clarity of the Maruyama-Shijō School, from the monochromatic indexes of interiority of so-called Nanga, or Southern School, painting to the actors and courtesans of the pleasure quarters depicted inukiyo-e, to the inky innovations of the so-called eccentrics.

A complete catalogue of the Feinberg Collection will be published by the museums in late Summer 2020.

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 Nakamura Hōchū, Japanese (died 1819), Pine Trees in Snow1770?-1819, Edo period, 1615-1868. Hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on silk. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL41932.1. © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Over the last five years, since the museums reopened in 2014, select objects from the Feinberg Collection have been on display in extended thematic installations in the East Asian gallery on Level 2. This is the first time the museums mount a single exhibition across all four spaces. Visitors are greeted by Tani Bunchō’s Grasses and Moon (1817), a large painting that encapsulates the Japanese tradition of moon-viewing, before being immediately enveloped by Sakai Hōitsu’s Birds and Flowers of the Twelve Months (c.1820–28), a stunning group of 12 hanging scrolls that together create a paradisal garden in which all the seasons flower simultaneously. From this introductory gallery, visitors are encouraged to wander at will to discover the major schools and styles of painting. 

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 Tani Bunchō, Japanese (Edo 1763 - 1840), Grasses and Moon, 15th day of the 8th month, 1817, Edo period, 1615-1868Hanging scroll; ink on silk. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.38. © Photography: John Tsantes and Neil Greentree © Robert Feinber 

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Sakai Hōitsu, Japanese (Edo 1761 - 1828), Birds and Flowers of the Twelve Monthsc. 1817-1828, Edo period, 1615-1868. Set of twelve hanging scrolls; ink, color, and gold on silk. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42096.14© President and Fellows of Harvard College

The Feinbergs have collected so carefully and with such dedication over the years that they have formed a truly comprehensive collection,” said curator Rachel Saunders. “That is particularly significant for us as a teaching museum because it allows us to look at the whole gamut of Edo painting within the exhibition, including virtually every major lineage and painting format.”

Painting Edo, organized by the Harvard Art Museums, is co-curated by Rachel Saunders, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Curator of Asian Art at the Harvard Art Museums, and Yukio Lippit, the Jeffrey T. Chambers and Andrea Okamura Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. The exhibition will be on view exclusively at the Harvard Art Museums; an illustrated publication by Saunders and Lippit accompanies the show.

February 14, 2020–July 26, 2020

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Sakai Hōitsu, Japanese (Edo 1761 - 1828), Spring Flowersc. 1804-18 Edo period, 1615-1868. Folding fan; ink, color, and gold on paper. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL41932.6. © President and Fellows of Harvard College.

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Suzuki Kiitsu, Japanese (Omi Province 1796 - 1858), Mount Fuji and Mount Tsukubac. 1835-43, Edo period, 1615-1868Folding fan; ink, color, silver and gold on paper. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.34. © President and Fellows of Harvard College.

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Nagasawa Rosetsu, Japanese (1754 - 1799), The Parrot King, about 1790, Edo period, 1615-1868Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.24. © President and Fellows of Harvard College.

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Nagasawa Rosetsu, Japanese (1754 - 1799), Jittoku, Puppies and Hotei, 1780-1799, Edo period, 1615-1868Set of three hanging scrolls; ink on paper. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.22. © Photography: John Tsantes and Neil Greentree © Robert Feinberg.

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Katsukawa Shunkō II, Celebration at the Entrance of the New Yoshiwara1818-1825, Edo period, 1615-1868Two-panel folding screen; ink and color on silk. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42018.6© President and Fellows of Harvard College.

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Kaigetsudō Doshin, Japanese (active 1704 - 1716), Standing Courtesan1704-1716, Edo period, 1615-1868Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.9. © Photography: John Tsantes and Neil Greentree © Robert Feinberg.

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Takada Keiho, Japanese (omi province 1674 - 1755), Mount Fuji, Miho Pine Forest, and Seikenji Temple, 1746, Edo period, 1615-1868Hanging scroll, ink on paper. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL41799.7© President and Fellows of Harvard College.

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Uragami Gyokudō, Japanese (Bizen 1745 - 1820), Old Trees in Lonely Springtime1780?-1820, Edo period, 1615-1868Hanging scroll; ink on paper. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.42© Photography: John Tsantes and Neil Greentree © Robert Feinberg.

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Kano Sanboku (active mid-17th to early 18th century), Tribute Bearers to the Chinese Emperor, late 17th–early 18th century, Edo period, 1615-1868. Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold on paper. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. FeinbergTL42147.11. © Koichi Yanagi Oriental Fine Arts.

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Hishikawa Moronobu, Japanese (Hodamura, Awa Province c. 1618 - 1694 Edo), Early Evening at a Yoshiwara Inn1650?-1694, Edo period, 1615-1868. Hanging scroll; ink and color on silkPromised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.2. © Photography: John Tsantes and Neil Greentree © Robert Feinberg.

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Maruyama Ōkyo, Japanese (Anafuto, Tamba province 1733 - 1795), Landscape in a Rainstorm, 1782 (Tenmei 2), Edo period, 1615-1868. Hanging scroll; ink on silk. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.19. © President and Fellows of Harvard College.

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Tani Bunchō, Japanese (Edo 1763 - 1840), The First and Second Poetic Expositions on the Red Cliff, 1800, Edo period, 1615-1868. Pair of hanging scrolls; ink and light color on silk. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.37. © President and Fellows of Harvard College.

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Suzuki Kiitsu, Japanese (Omi Province 1796 - 1858), Cranes, c. 1820–25, Edo period, 1615-1868. Pair of two-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold on paper. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.33. © President and Fellows of Harvard College. 

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Maruyama Ōkyo, Japanese (Anafuto, Tamba province 1733 - 1795), Fish and Turtles in Water, c. 1772 - 1781, Edo period, 1615-1868. Two-fold screen; ink and color on silk. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, 2018.356. © President and Fellows of Harvard College. 

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Kamisaka Sekka, Japanese (Kyoto 1866 - 1942), Flowers of the Four Seasons, c. 1920-1930, Meiji period, 1868-1912. Pair of hanging scrolls; ink, color and gold on silk. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL41932.7. © Photography: John Tsantes and Neil Greentree © Robert Feinberg.

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Kamisaka Sekka, Japanese (Kyoto 1866 - 1942), Pines of Miho, 1900?-1942, Meiji period, 1868-1912. Pair of sliding door panels (kobusuma): ink, color, and gold on paper; black lacquered wood frames. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.10. © Photography: John Tsantes and Neil Greentree © Robert Feinberg.

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Soga Shōhaku, Japanese (Ise 1730 - 1781 Kyoto), Race at Uji Riverc. 1764, Edo period, 1615-1868. Six-panel folding screen; ink, color, and gold on paper. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.30. © Photography: John Tsantes and Neil Greentree © Robert Feinberg.

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Soga Shōhaku, Japanese (Ise 1730 - 1781 Kyoto), Ink Landscape, mid-18th centuryEdo period, 1615-1868. Hanging scroll; ink on silk. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL41799.13. © President and Fellows of Harvard College.

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Suzuki Shuitsu, Japanese (1823 - 1889), Taira no Tsunemasa Playing the Biwa at Tsukubusuma Shrinemid - to late 19th century, Edo period, 1615-1868. Two-panel folding screen; ink, color, gold, and silver on paper. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.35. © Photography: John Tsantes and Neil Greentree © Robert Feinberg.

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Katayama Yōkoku, Japanese (Nagasaki, Japan 1760 - 1801), Tiger in a Rainstorm, 1780?-1801, Edo period, 1615-1868. Hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on silk. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.13. © President and Fellows of Harvard College.

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Okamoto Shūki, Japanese (1807? - 1862), Egrets and Kingfisher Amongst Lotus, mid-19th century, Edo period, 1615-1868. Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.28. © Photography: John Tsantes and Neil Greentree © Robert Feinberg.

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Utagawa Toyokuni, Japanese (1769 - 1825), Kabuki Actor Segawa Kikunojo III in 'Musume Dojoji', 1800?-1825, Edo period, 1615-1868. Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.45. © Photography: John Tsantes and Neil Greentree © Robert Feinberg.

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 Kaigetsudō Doshin, Japanese (active 1704 - 1716), Courtesan1704-1716, Edo period, 1615-1868. Hanging scroll; ink, color and gold on paper. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.8. © President and Fellows of Harvard College.

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Yosa Buson,  Japanese (Settsu 1716 - 1783), Crossing a Mountain Stream by a Bridge, c. 1778-1783, Edo period, 1615-1868. Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.52. © Photography: John Tsantes and Neil Greentree © Robert Feinberg.

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Kitagawa Utamaro, Japanese (early 1750s - 1806), Seated Beautyca. 1802 - 1806, Edo period, 1615-1868. Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.16© President and Fellows of Harvard College.

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A Portuguese Trading Ship Arrives in Japan17th century, Edo period, 1615-1868. Pair of six-panel screens; ink, color, and gold on paper. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.55© President and Fellows of Harvard College.

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Yamamoto Baiitsu, Japanese (Nagoya 1783 - 1856 Nagoya), Broken Branches Drawn from Life1835, Edo period, 1615-1868. Handscroll; ink and color on silk. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42096.11© President and Fellows of Harvard College.

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Ki Baitei, Japanese (Kyoto, Japan 1734 - 1810), Lanting Pavilion1805, Edo period, 1615-1868. Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.15© President and Fellows of Harvard College.

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Lone Traveler in Wintry Mountainsc. 1770–75, Edo period, 1615-1868. Two-panel folding screen; ink and gold on paper. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.50© Photography: John Tsantes and Neil Greentree © Robert Feinberg.

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Yosa Buson, Japanese (Settsu 1716 - 1784), Visiting the Thatched Cottage in the Bamboo Grovec. 1777–78, Edo period, 1615-1868. Two-panel folding screen; ink and color on paper. Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, TL42147.51© Photography: John Tsantes and Neil Greentree © Robert Feinberg.