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Peonies and butterfly
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Group: Modern Life Modern Vision

Artist: Katsushika HOKUSAI
Birth/Death: 1760–1849

Title: Peonies and butterfly
Date Made: c.1832

Lender: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Claude Monet’s fascination with his ‘pictures of the Floating World’ or ukiyo-e as they are known in Japanese, led him to decorate his home at Giverny with over 200 of them. This is one of those works from Monet’s collection. Titled Peonies and butterfly it is by one of the great ukiyo-e masters Katsushika Hokusai. Monet had admired this particular work exclaiming, “Look at that flower with its petals turned back in the wind, is that not truth itself.”

At the bottom left hand corner is the seal of the Japanese print dealer Hayashi Tadamasa, who lived in Paris and sold ukiyo-e prints such as this to Monet. Hayashi was responsible for importing a huge number of Japanese prints into Europe following the opening up of trade barriers during the mid-nineteenth century.

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