Guest Lecture on Japanese Art, October 18, 2021

Julie Nelson Davis, Professor of Art History at University of Pennsylvania, will present a guest Zoom lecture on Japanese art. Her lecture “The Art World of Ukiyo-e: The ‘Pictures of the Floating World’ in Context” will be presented as a webinar on Monday, October 18 at 5:30 pm (CDT).

Register for the webinar via Zoom.

Dr. Davis is the author of Utamaro and the Spectacle of Beauty (2007, second edition 2021), Partners in Print: Artistic Collaboration and the Ukiyo-e Market (2015), and Picturing the Floating World: Ukiyo-e in Context (2021). She is currently working on a new book on imitation, homage, and fabrication in early modern Japanese art and an exhibition of Japanese illustrated books. Davis is also editor-in-chief for, the past president of the Japan Art History Forum (2014–2020), and a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow.

Ukiyo-e, the “pictures of the floating world,” are regarded today as masterpieces, among the most iconic (and expensive) images in Japanese art. Yet it is often said that ukiyo-e was not appreciated at home in its own time, rather that it was when prints and books arrived in France accidentally—as packing material for ceramics—that they were given due credit.

In this talk, Davis debunks the myth of ukiyo-e being so little valued that it was used for packing and wrapping, demonstrating that ukiyo-e was thoroughly appreciated as a field of artistic production, worthy of connoisseurship and even of canonization in its own time.

This guest lecture is presented with support from the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and the Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies and is co-sponsored by the Department of Art and Art History and the Asian Studies Program.