Floating Beauty: Women in the Art of Ukiyo-e

January 7–February 25, 2022

Number 23 Standing Courtesan by Utagawa Kunisada Mitchell Gallery.
Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III), Standing Courtesan, 1828, ink on paper.

This exhibition of woodblock prints  examines the historical perspectives of women and their depiction in art in Edo period Japan (1615–1858). Female characters in literature, kabuki theater, and poetry; the courtesans and geisha of the Yoshiwara district; and wives and mothers from different social classes performing the duties of their station are depicted in ways that provide some insight into the lives of women in pre-modern Japan.

This exhibition is organized by the Reading Public Museum, Reading, PA.

Exhibition support is provided by Casey and Rex Pingle.

We thank the following for their continuous funding and support: Anne Arundel County, Arts Council Anne Arundel, the City of Annapolis, The Helena Foundation, the J.M. Kaplan Fund, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Estate of Elizabeth Myers Mitchell, the Mitchell Gallery Board of Advisors, Members of the Mitchell Gallery, Mrs. Ruth Mitchell, the John and Hilda Moore Fund, the Lillian Vanous Nutt Mitchell Gallery Endowment, and the Clare Eddy and Eugene V. Thaw Fine Arts Fund. Gifts-in-kind: Up.St.ART Annapolis.



January 7Online opening of exhibition
Floating Beauty: Women in the Art of Ukiyo-e

January 7–February 25: Online Lecture
“Floating Beauty: Women in the Art of Ukiyo-e by Art Educator Lucinda Edinberg.
Prerecorded lecture. Premieres January 7, available through February 25.

January 12: Art Express, 12:15–12:45 p.m. ET, Online
Lunchtime tour with Art Educator Lucinda Edinberg.

January 29: Try-It Workshop, 9 a.m.–noon ET, In person
With the guidance of artist and printmaker Mary Ellen Carsley, participants will create a print in the ukiyo-e style. No experience necessary. Materials provided. Registration required. $20 for members; $30 for non-members. Open to ages 16 years and up.
Try-It Workshop is FULL.

February 1: Curator’s Lecture, 5:30 p.m. ET, Online
Kit Brooks, the Japan Foundation Assistant Curator of Japanese Art at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, will provide insights into the representation and attitudes toward women in the Edo period. Watch the recorded lecture via YouTube.

Speaker Kit Brooks, Mitchell Gallery Book Club
Kit Brooks

Kit Brooks, The Japan Foundation Assistant Curator of Japanese Art at the Freer-Sackler Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art, holds a PhD in Japanese art history from Harvard University. Specializing in prints and paintings of the Edo and Meiji periods, Kit’s primary research interests revolve around the reevaluation of “eccentric” artists of the 18th century, the relationship between illustrated books and paintings, and special prints that emulate the visual qualities of other media, such as surimono and takuhanga.

Before joining the Smithsonian in 2019, Kit held positions at the British Museum, Harvard Art Museums, and the Children’s Museum in Boston; they are also a graduate of the CCL/Mellon Foundation Seminar in Curatorial Practice at the Center for Curatorial Leadership. Kit is currently working on a number of shows drawing from the museum’s collection of over 8,000 Japanese prints.

February 24: Book Club 1–2:30 p.m. ET, In person
Join members of the Mitchell Gallery Book Club for a discussion of Tokaido Road led by the author, Lucia St. Clair Robson. Free. Registration required. Location to be announced.