Mad About Painting available to buy at Museum Bookstore

Mad About Painting

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'From the reliably excellent “ekphrasis” series at David Zwirner, this pocket paperback humanizes a forbiddingly mythical figure, the Japanese printmaker Katsushika Hokusai.' - New York Times

A collection of Hokusai's painting manuals he dictated near his death in 1849

Best known for his iconic print Under the Wave off Kanagawa, also known as the Great Wave, Katsushika Hokusai was a revolutionary printmaker. His mastery of ukiyo-e in the nineteenth century has inspired generations of artists since, and his works exposed the world to the delicate beauty and power of Japanese woodblock technique. In addition to his remarkable artistic output, Hokusai was also a dedicated teacher who sought to pass down his deep understanding of color and painting to practicing artists through immensely detailed written tutorials.

Here, for the first time in centuries, are excerpts from his manuals, many available for the first time in English. It is an invaluable insight into the psyche of a true master, and a rare personal account of an artist's life during a fascinating period in Japan's history. Connecting Hokusai's prints from the Edo period to manga, author Ryoko Matsuba foregrounds Hokusai's contributions to Japanese creative expression from the 1800s to today.

Also included in this book: Vincent Van Gogh's letter about Hokusai's Great Wave and the contemporary artist Ikeda Manabu's concise observations about Hokusai's lasting influence.

A New York Times Book of the Year 2023.


  • Author: Katsushika Hokusai
  • Paperback: 176 pages | 20 illustrations
  • Date published: May 2023
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 9781644230879
  • Product Dimensions: 17.7 x 10.8 cm

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