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The 20th century saw the emergence of two major print movements: shin hanga, or “new prints,” and sosaku hanga, or “creative prints.” Both sought an identity somewhere between centuries of rich cultural tradition and modern global character. Through growing realism, Impressionist techniques, and a newfound international audience, the shin hanga movement portrayed traditional Japanese themes through modern eyes. From sensual beauties and expressive actors, to atmospheric landscapes and sensitive nature studies the principal genres of ukiyo-e reassert themselves with renewed vigor.

The sosaku hanga movement emphasized the participation of the artist in every aspect of production. From carving to printing, modern Japanese printmaking adopted a more spontaneous, expressive attitude and drew strong influence from the artistic explorations of European printmakers. Ranging from figural to abstract, sosaku hanga flourished after WWII, finding an eager audience among American GIs.

In addition to modern Japanese art, this collection of prints and paintings includes works by the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, offering a glimpse at the impact of Japanese art on European masters. From Manet to Toulouse-Lautrec, these artists developed a modern expression through the influence of Japanese art. 

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