Lucia Vernarelli gave to the British Museum in 1994 a collection of mid century Japanese prints acquired by Ernst Hacker and also photos taken by him in Japan during his stay there in 1946. The collection is interesting because of the detailed look at that period and because two of the artists represented, Onchi and Munakta, are now considered the most important in 20th century Japan.
The museum is preparing an exhibit of The Hacker Archive from September 4 to December 1, 2002 called Japanese Prints During the Allied Occupation, 1945--52: Ernst Hacker, Onchi Koshiro and the First Thursday Society.
Here is a descripton of the
exhibit from the British Museum:
Japanese Prints During the Allied Occupation, 1945--1952: Ernst Hacker, Onchi Koshiro and the First Thursday Society.
After disastrous defeat in 1945, Japan quickly demonstrated its ability to recover physically, economically and culturally. In the visual arts, too, the years between 1945 and 1952 saw steady progress and achievement in almost all fields. This exhibition with its accompanying catalogue examines in detail how one school of printmakers, under the leadership of Onchi Koshiro (1889-1955), managed to survive the Pacific War and found themsleves as artists among the spokesmen for a new search for the nation's heart in its aesthetic traditions. They were also rapidly appreciated by connoisseurs among the occupying forces and administrators. Symbolic of this process was the meeting of the American graphic artist, Ernst Hacker (1917-87), posted to Tokyo in April 1946, with Onchi and his circle and the then almost unknown Munakata Shiko (1904-75). Prints and archives acquired by Hacker at that time and recently given to The British Museum by his widow form the basis of the display and catalogue. By 1952, when the Allied Occupation ended, Onchi and his circle and Munakata were being eagerly collected in the USA. The two are now recognised throughout the world as Japan's greatest 20th century print artists, but it was the Americans who introduced them to the world.
This exhibition will be a fine opportunity not only to see their works, but also to appreciate Japanese society under the Occupation.