American museums owing Hokusai’s famous wave prints

The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, one of the most famous works of art in Japan, was created by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) and published in the series of “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji” prints.

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This work, which influenced Van Gogh and other Impressionist painters, is a print called Ukiyo-e in Japan. Since Ukiyo-e was a culture familiar to the common people of the Edo period (1603-1863),  a great deal of the wave picture was printed at that time. At present, about 100 prints still exist in the world. And some museums and a library in the US, also own the prints of The Great Wave Off Kanagawa: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Art Institute of Chicago, Library Congress, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Minneapolis Institute of Arts. You can always see the work in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, except in other special exhibitions, in the country.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston opened in 1870 has about 43,000 ukiyo-e prints, including seven pieces of The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. The museum does not usually exhibit the work, but most recently, the special exhibition of Hokusai was held from April 5 to August 9, 2015. The next exhibition is undecided.

Address: Avenue of the Arts465 Huntington AvenueBoston, Massachusetts 02115

The Art Institute of Chicago owns three pieces of the work and has published about 52,400 images of artworks, including many works by Hokusai, whose copyright has expired on the official website. Even the same work has different colors depending on the editions, so it may be interesting to compare them.

Address:111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

Perhaps little-known, the largest library in the world owns numerous works of art, including ukiyo-e woodblock prints, two of which are The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. About 2,600 Japanese prints are available for free to see on the web site, and of course, you can enjoy those two.

Address:101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20540

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the three major museums in the United States, along with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Art Institute of Chicago, has three pieces of The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. This world-famous museum has a permanent exhibition of the work, the only museum in the US, and can be found in the Asian arts area on the second floor. Usually, few people who observe, so you can enjoy the masterpiece to your heart’s content.


  • 1000 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10028

LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) is the largest museum on the West Coast and has many works. It consists of nine buildings, and you can enjoy a wide range of works of art, paintings, sculptures and ornaments from all over the world, including American art, Europe, India and Southeast Asia. This huge museum owns one piece of The Great Wave Off Kanagawa.

Adress:5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

The Minneapolis Museum of Art has about 5,000 works of Japanese art from ancient to contemporary art, including 3,000 Ukiyo-e, making it the largest collection in the United States. The museum also owns a picture of the famous wave of Hokusai.

Address:2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404