Utagawa School (Japanese), Shunga print after Gomo from the series, "Twenty-four Paragons of Filial Piety," 19th century. Color woodblock print with embossing, 9.1 x 12.1 cm. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Museum purchase, Achenbach

“Japanese Prints in Transition” at The Legion

Spanning two pivotal eras of social and political change in Japan, Japanese Prints in Transition traces the artistic development of 18th-century ukiyo-e (or “floating world pictures”) to the brightly colored woodblock prints of the imperial Meiji era, following the ouster of the shogun in 1868.

These new prints and their Western-inflected imagery reflected a program of rapid modernization and increased interactions with other nations. Drawn entirely from the holdings of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts—one of the most significant museum collections of Japanese prints in the United States—the exhibition brings together nearly 150 works, presenting the rich history and wide breadth of the medium.

Japanese Prints in Transition offers visitors a singular opportunity to explore influential Japanese printmaking traditions, from iconic ukiyo-e to the less widely known prints of the late 19th-century Meiji era,” noted Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “We are proud to steward a significant collection of Japanese prints in our Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, and we are delighted to share these treasures with our audiences at the Legion of Honor in a presentation that will speak to a period of profound change in Japan, during which shifts in printmaking practice closely reflected the country’s dramatic transition from isolationist policies to wider engagement with Europe and the West.”