A Giant Leap: The Transformation of Hasegawa Tōhaku at Japan Society Gallery, March 9 – May 6, 2018

A Giant Leap: The Transformation of Hasegawa Tōhaku is the first U.S. exhibition focused on the works and stylistic transformation of Hasegawa Tōhaku (1539—1610). A large, jagged pine tree, its branches wound with wisteria and its trunk edged with red azalea, a waterfall cascading into a deep blue stream, and dandelions and violets sprouting before a crab-apple tree; Hasegawa Tōhaku’s Flowers and Birds of Spring and Summer screen is one of the most important works on view in A Giant Leap and one of the most important in the study of Tōhaku at large, forming the “missing link” in the painter’s career.

Widely recognized as one of Japan’s most beloved painters and artistic innovators, this exhibition marks a rare showing of his remarkable painted screens and scrolls in the U.S., including four Important Cultural Properties on loan from Japanese collections. A Giant Leap especially highlights research that reveals his paintings, formerly attributed to two separate painters (“Nobuharu” and “Tōhaku”), to be the work of a single person. To experience Tōhaku’s works as though they were in a Buddhist temple, visitors to Japan Society Gallery have the opportunity to sit barefooted and on the floor in close proximity to an uncased, high-quality facsimile of Tōhaku’s famous painted pine trees screen.” — Japan Society

Hasegawa Tōhaku (Nobuharu). Flowers and Birds of Spring and Summer, ca. 1580s (Azuchi–Momoyama period). Six-panel folding screen; ink, color, and gold on gilded paper. Private Collection, New York.

Hasegawa Tōhaku. Willows in Four Seasons, late 16th century (Momoyama period). Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold on paper. London Gallery, Tokyo

Hasegawa Tōhaku. Willows in Four Seasons, late 16th century (Momoyama period). Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold on paper. London Gallery, Tokyo

Hasegawa School. Willow, Bridge, and Waterwheel (or Uji Bridge), early 17th century (Momoyama period). Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, and copper on gilded paper. Jane and Raphael Bernstein Collection, New Jersey

Hasegawa School. Willow, Bridge, and Waterwheel (or Uji Bridge), early 17th century (Momoyama period). Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, and copper on gilded paper. Jane and Raphael Bernstein Collection, New Jersey

Hasegawa Tōhaku (Nobuharu). Portrait of Priest Nichigyō, 1572 (Momoyama period). Hanging scroll, ink and color on silk Honpōji, Kyoto. Important Cultural Property

Hasegawa Tōhaku. Portrait of Priest Nittsū, 1608 (Momoyama period). Hanging scroll, ink and color on silk. Honpōji, Kyoto. Important Cultural Property

Hasegawa Tōhaku. Cranes in Bamboo Grove, 16th century (Momoyama period). Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink on paper. Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo

Hasegawa Tōhaku. Cranes in Bamboo Grove, 16th century (Momoyama period). Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink on paper. Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo

Hasegawa Tōhaku. Crows on Pine and White Herons on Willow, 16th century (Momoyama period). Pair of six-panel folding screen; ink on paper. Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo

Hasegawa Tōhaku. Crows on Pine and White Herons on Willow, 16th century (Momoyama period). Pair of six-panel folding screen; ink on paper. Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo

The exhibition is conceived and supervised by Dr. Miyeko Murase (Professor Emerita, Art History and Archaeology Department, Columbia University and former special consultant for Japanese Art, Asia Department, The Metropolitan Museum of Art) with Dr. Masatomo Kawai (professor emeritus, Keio University and director, Chiba City Museum of Art) in consultation with Yukie Kamiya, director of Japan Society Gallery.

Images courtesy Japan Society.