BAMPFA Mounts First Ever North American Exhibition Focused on 18th-Century Japanese Painter Sakaki Hyakusen and the Nanga School


On View October 2, 2019—February 2, 2020


Hinges: Sakaki Hyakusen and the Birth of Nanga Painting Spotlights Conservation of Rare Pair of Six-Fold Screen Paintings


(Berkeley, CA) September 18, 2019—This fall, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) mounts the first North American exhibition focused on the work and legacy of Sakaki Hyakusen, the influential Japanese artist who established the Nanga School of painting in eighteenth-century Japan. Hinges: Sakaki Hyakusen and the Birth of Nanga Paintingfeatures thirty-five rarely exhibited works by Hyakusen and his Nanga School disciples, who notably incorporated Chinese painting styles into Japanese art during the Edo Period. The exhibition centers on a pair of extremely rare six-fold screen paintings created by Hyakusen, which will go on view for the first time following their recent conservation.


Drawing on the significant strengths of BAMPFA’s East Asian art collection, as well as loans from public collections, Hinges features numerous Japanese paintings by Hyakusen and other acolytes of the Nanga School, juxtaposed in contrast to notable works by Chinese artists who influenced their style. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog, published by UC Press, that includes new scholarship on the influence of Nanga School painting as a bridge between Japanese and Chinese artistic traditions during the 1700s. Together with a robust series of public programs—including a half-day colloquium on the legacy of the Nanga School—the exhibition and catalog will advance public understanding of this important movement in Japanese art history.


As the fourth major exhibition of Japanese art on view at BAMPFA this year, Hinges signals the museum’s growing focus on this subject area as a core component of its exhibition program. This confluence of exhibitions highlights the centennial anniversary of BAMPFA’s Japanese art collection, which was established in 1919 by a donation of more than 1,000 woodblock prints from the estate of UC Berkeley Professor William Dallam Armes. A graduate of UC Berkeley’s class of 1882, Armes amassed one of the largest private holdings of Japanese art of his generation—all of which were bequeathed to the university following his death, forming the basis of what later became a major collection strength for BAMPFA.


Hinges is organized into three sections, beginning with a showcase of the two recently restored screen paintings by Hyakusen. A gift of the late UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus James Cahill, one of the world’s leading authorities on Nanga painting, the screens have been restored over the past two years by Tomokatsu Kawazu of Sogendo Studio, a highly respected Japanese traditional painting conservator. The second section of the exhibition examines Hyakusen’s artistic connections to traditional Chinese landscape painters, including Lan Ying and Sheng Maoye. Finally, the third section demonstrates Hyakusen’s influence on Nanga School painters with examples of works by Yosa Buson, Ike Taiga, and other later followers.


The 136-page catalog that accompanies the exhibition features seventy color illustrations of Nanga paintings from the exhibition and BAMPFA’s holdings. The catalog is edited by BAMPFA’s Senior Curator for Asian Art Julia M. White, who curated the exhibition. White contributed an introductory essay to the catalog, which also includes contributions from Felice Fischer, the Luther W. Brady Curator of Japanese Art and senior curator of East Asian art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Kyoko Kinoshita, professor of Japanese art history at Tama Art University in Tokyo. Tomokatsu Kawazu, who supervised the screens’ conservation, has contributed an essay about the conservation process.


The exhibition opens with a curator’s talk by White on Wednesday, October 2 at 12 p.m. BAMPFA also hosts a colloquium on Saturday, October 5 at 1 p.m. with remarks by White and other scholars on the relationship between Japanese and Chinese painting. Guided tours of the exhibition are offered on select Sundays throughout the run of the show.



Hinges: Sakaki Hyakusen and the Birth of Nanga Painting is organized by Senior Curator for Asian Art Julia M. White with Curatorial Assistants Matthew Coleman and Lucia Momoh. The exhibition is made possible with major support from Kristine Johnson and Tim Dattels. Additional support is provided by the BAMPFA Asian Art Endowment Fund; Hanley Tzeho, Christopher Tzening, and Jonathan Tzechien Leung; the Blakemore Foundation; Bonhams Japanese Art, New York and San Francisco; the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation; Jane DeBevoise in memory of Professor James Cahill; Grace S. Chang and Jennifer Y. Chang; Julia and John Curtis; Dr. Ruedi F. Thoeni and David B. Franklin; and Nobuko and Allen Zecha. The exhibition catalog is made possible with support from the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies.

Posted by afox on September 18, 2019