The Boston University Art Gallery Presents Chikanobu: Modernity and Nostalgia in Japanese Prints

Contact: Erin Whipple, 617-358-1688 |

Boston — The Boston University Art Gallery (BUAG) continues its 2007-2008 season with the presentation of Chikanobu: Modernity and Nostalgia in Japanese Prints. This exhibition is the first to comprehensively examine the 30-year career of one of Japan’s most popular and prolific woodblock print designers, Yoshu Chikanobu (1838-1912).

Born into a samurai family, Chikanobu became an artist famous for his depictions of warriors, kabuki actors, beautiful women, children and the imperial family. He is known for creating “brocade prints” (nishiki-e) that incorporate rich colors and extraordinary detail. The exhibition features 50 prints that document Chikanobu’s career as an advocate for modernization in the 1880s, before turning to promote traditional Japanese values in the 1890s.

Although Chikanobu’s art is well-known and collected worldwide, this exhibition represents the first in-depth study of his work. Organized by Dr. Bruce Coats, professor of Art History and Humanities at Scripps College, the exhibition debuted at The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif. In addition to Boston University, other college and university galleries hosting it include Carleton College, Vassar College, DePauw University, Denison University and the International Christian University in Tokyo.

A catalogue, produced by Hotei Publishing, accompanies the exhibition and contains over 280 color illustrations, as well as essays by Dr. Coats, along with other scholars from Japan, Canada and the United States. The exhibition is funded by grants from the Blakemore Foundation, the Japan Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies.

Dedicated to serving the public of New England as well as the university community, Boston University Art Gallery (BUAG) is a non-profit art gallery geared toward an interdisciplinary interpretation of art and culture. Maintaining an ongoing exhibition schedule in its current location since 1958, now named the Stone Gallery, exhibitions focus on international, national, and regional art developments, chiefly in the twentieth century. BUAG has a particular commitment to offer a culturally inclusive view of art, one that expands the boundaries of museum exhibitions.

BUAG is located at 855 Commonwealth Avenue, at the Stone Gallery inside the College of Fine Arts building on the Boston University campus (BU West T stop on the “B” Green Line). Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Saturday & Sunday 1:00 – 5:00 PM. For more information, please visit



Thursday, November 29, 2007 at 4:00 PM
Alice Y. Tseng, Assistant Professor in the Art History department at Boston University will discuss the artist, images and history surrounding the prints featured in Chikanobu. (Location: BUAG at the Stone Gallery)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007 at 4:00 PM
Quintana Heathman, Research Assistant for Japanese Print Exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston will discuss the images and themes of the exhibition. (Location: BUAG at the Stone Gallery)