Drawn exclusively from Japanese collections, this exhibition explores the role the prints played in the formation and distribution of images of Spain, its culture, and art from the early 17th- through the mid-20th century. Specifically, the exhibition consists of the following two overarching themes. Beginning with works on Spanish themes and interests primarily by 19th-century French and British artists, the exhibition considers how these prints served as a medium for the reception and (mis)understanding of Spain's culture and art. Next the display traces the historical development of 20th-century Spanish prints as a way to consider the current state of Japanese collecting of Spanish prints and convey how Spanish modern art has been received in Japan via prints.
The exhibition's core group of works is drawn from the NMWA and NPAM collections, the two most important Spanish print collections in Japan. By the turn of the 21st century, the NMWA had collected works that speak of the history of Spanish prints, including all of Goya's four renowned print series, and a dozen works by Picasso. Starting in 2014, those holdings were further expanded, as the NMWA set the goal of forming a concise collection of Spanish print history from the 17th century through early Picasso, including the acquisition of more than 30 works by artists such as Jusepe de Ribera, Mariano Fortuny Marsal, Ramon Casas, and Adrià Gual. The NMWA has also acquired prints on Spanish subjects by British and French artists, including David Roberts and Edouard Manet. The NPAM, on the other hand, owns a unique 20th century Spanish print collection ranging from Ricardo Baroja to José Hernandez, as well as earlier works such as Goya's series. Numerous loans from more than 40 institutions nationwide will complement this core group, including illustrated editions of Don Quixote, photographs by Jean Laurent, commercial and propaganda posters, and masterpieces of 20th-century Spanish printmaking by Picasso, Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí, Antoni Tàpies and Antoni Clavé. Overall, the works will be shown in chronological order, yet arranged around important themes and topics related to the reception of Spanish art.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated, partly-bilingual catalogue, with contributions by Japanese and international authors.