press release

The exhibition is nothing less than a world premier: it is the very first chronological overview of Japanese erotic art, featuring masterpieces from the oeuvres of Kitagawa Utamaro, Katsushika Hokusai, Suzuki Harunobu, Utagawa Kunisada and Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Although hidden from the public eye, the erotic works known as Shunga were extremely popular in Japan for centuries. Due in part to the sexually explicit nature of the images, nowadays this exhibition could not be shown in Japan or any other country. Love letters, erotic novels, humorous poetry and kabuki theatre bring to life a world of geisha, actors and courtesans, offering a glimpse of seventeenth and eighteenth-century Japan. This largest retrospective ever comprises works from museums and private collections from all over the world.

Desire of Spring emphasises three elements typical of Shunga: eroticism, aesthetics and humour. The quality of the more than 200 selected works is exceptionally high. Several of the pieces have never been exhibited in public before. The exhibition was put together by guest curator Chris Uhlenbeck.

Catalogue The exhibition will be accompanied by the richly illustrated English-language catalogue ‘Japanese Erotic Fantasies’, published by KIT Publishers/Hotei Publishing; ISBN 90-74822-66-5


only in german

Lust of Spring - Erotic Fantasies of the Edo era

mit Werken von Kitagawa Utamaro, Katsushika Hokusai, Suzuki Harunobu, Utagawa Kunisada, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Keisai Eisen, u.a.