March 26–July 16, 2023

Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence

Making Waves across Centuries

Thanks to the popularity of works like the instantly recognizable Great Wave—cited everywhere from book covers and Lego sets to anime and emoji—Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) has become one of the most famous and influential artists of all time. Taking a new approach to this endlessly inventive and versatile Japanese artist, “Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence” explores his impact both during his lifetime and beyond. More than 100 woodblock prints, paintings, and illustrated books by Hokusai are on view alongside about 200 works by his teachers, students, rivals, and admirers, creating juxtapositions that demonstrate his influence through time and space.

A Lasting Influence

Visitors can see Hokusai’s legacy in works by, among others, his daughter Katsushika Ōi, his contemporaries Utagawa Hiroshige and Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 19th-century American and European painters, and modern and contemporary artists including Loïs Mailou Jones and Yoshitomo Nara. In the exhibition’s largest section, dedicated to Under the Wave off Kanagawa (the Great Wave) (about 1830–31), Hokusai’s print appears with works that riff on or directly cite the iconic image, including John Cederquist’s How to Wrap Five Waves (1994–95), Roy Lichtenstein’s Drowning Girl (1963), Andy Warhol’s The Great Wave (After Hokusai) (1980–87), and even a Lego recreation (2021) by Lego certified professional Jumpei Mitsui. The sweeping range of work shows Hokusai’s ubiquity and enduring appeal, which shows no sign of fading anytime soon.

“I am inspired by his general work, the quality—I would say fearless expression.”
—artist Taiko Chandler on Hokusai

  • Ann and Graham Gund Gallery (Gallery LG31)

Related Publications


‘The Lonely Palette’ Looks at the ‘Great Wave’

Listen to a podcast episode by Tamar Avishai, host of The Lonely Palette, about the enduring appeal of Hokusai's Great Wave.

Transcript for Hokusai's Great Wave episode

Taiko Chandler Installing Her Work ‘Blue Surge’

Installing Jumpei Mitsui’s Lego ‘Great Wave’



Generously supported by the MFA Associates / MFA Senior Associates.

Additional support from the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Exhibition Fund, the Museum Council Artist in Residency Program Fund, the Dr. Terry Satsuki Milhaupt Fund for Japanese Textiles, the MFA Associates / MFA Senior Associates Exhibition Endowment Fund, the Patricia B. Jacoby Exhibition Fund, and the Alexander M. Levine and Dr. Rosemarie D. Bria-Levine Exhibition Fund.