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O-Ei's Masterwork Exhibiting in Tokyo

April 20, 2015

One of the great mysteries about O-Ei, third of Hokusai's four daughters and the main character in Keiichi Hara film Miss Hokusai, is that despite accounts of the time all agree without exception on her extraordinary talent, the number of works ascribed to her is surprisingly limited. Only ten works have been confirmed as of today, of which two are without her signature, and only two, which are illustrations for manuals, are inscribed with a date. To this frustratingly meagre corpus, three more works signed as Hokusai's daughter Tatsu-jo (or Toki-jo) could be added, previous acceptance of the theory according which Tatsu-jo was an early art name O-Ei used before her short-lived marriage with Minamizawa Tomei. Furthermore, O-Ei's ten works are scattered in as many museums across three continents, making a comprehensive appreciation of her art an utterly challenging task, also considering that no museum maintains a permanent exhibition of ukiyo-e due to their fatal sensitiveness to light. It is therefore most welcomed news that the Ota Memorial Museum of Art in Harajuku, Tokyo, has decided to hold a special exhibition of O-Ei's most representative paintings, Courtesans Showing Themselves to the Strollers through the Grille in conjunction with the release of Miss Hokusai. It is a rare and unmissable opportunity because the painting is usually exhibited only once every four years.

Courtesans Showing Themselves to the Strollers through the Grille will be exhibiting from May 1 to May 28, 2015 at the Ota Memorial Museum in Tokyo.

Official website:

"Courtesans Showing Themselves to the Strollers through the Grille". O-Ei signed this painting as Oi, hiding each Chinese character in her name in the lanterns carried by the strollers (Ota Memorial Museum of Art).