Published 2021, by

HOKUSAI with Sarah Thompson, Curator of Japanese art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

October 20, 2021 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Crow Museum of Asian Art, Gallery III
2010 Flora Street

Through iconic images such as the “Great Wave,” Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) not only revolutionized Japanese woodblock printmaking in his own day but continues to inspire artists around the world.  The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston — home of the largest and finest collection of Japanese art outside Japan — is a major repository of the work of Hokusai, with paintings, illustrated books, and woodblock prints representing the full span of the artist’s seven-decade career.

The first scholarly presentation of Japanese art in the U.S. was the exhibition of “Hokusai and His School” at the MFA Boston in 1892-93. More recently, in 2015, the MFA presented a major Hokusai retrospective drawn entirely from our own collection. This talk will discuss the formation of the Boston collection and some possible future directions for collecting, research, and exhibitions.

In-person attendees will receive food, drinks, parking, and an opportunity to see the Crow Museum exhibitions. Online attendees will only be able to view the program.

This program is part of the Richard J. Wood Art Curator Series, which is supported, in part, by an award from the National Association of Japan America Societies with funds from the Japan-United States Friendship Commission.


5:30 pm – Reception and guests welcome to visit “Born of Fire: Contemporary Japanese Women Ceramic Artists”

6:00 pm – Opening remarks, followed by presentation from Sarah Thompson, MFA Boston

6:25 pm – Conversation between Sarah Thompson and Jacqueline Chao, Crow Museum

6:45 pm – Audience Q&A (online attendees’ questions must be submitted in advance)

7:00 pm – Program closes


About the Speakers

Dr. Sarah Thompson is a curator of Japanese art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, one of four curators working with the largest collection of Japanese art outside Japan. With degrees in linguistics from Harvard and Japanese art from Columbia, she taught Japanese and Asian art history at Vassar College, Oberlin College, and the University of Oregon, before moving to the MFA in 2004. Her current specialty is Japanese prints; she has created an online digital catalogue of the MFA’s collection of over 50,000 Japanese prints, and has curated numerous exhibitions at the MFA and elsewhere, including a Hokusai retrospective at the MFA in 2015 and “Tattoos in Japanese Prints” at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco from May to August of this year. Her recent book is titled “Hokusai’s Landscapes: The Complete Series” (MFA Publications, 2019).

Dr. Jacqueline Chao is Senior Curator of Asian Art at the Crow Museum of Asian Art of The University of Texas at Dallas. Since joining the museum in 2016 as Curator of Asian Art, she has curated and organized over twenty exhibitions at the Museum. Her exhibitions have presented works ranging from the historical to the contemporary in all medias from across the globe. A specialist in Chinese and Buddhist art, she is a widely-published author and frequent lecturer on Asian Art. In addition to her appointment at the Museum, she is also a faculty member of the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History and the Hobson Wildenthal Honors College, serves on the Faculty Advisory Council for the Center for Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, and sits on the Asian Art Advisory Council of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. She previously taught Asian Art History at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, was Director of Exhibitions and Residencies at Chicago Artists Coalition, and contributed research to the Chinese painting collection at the Art Institute of Chicago. She holds an MA and PhD in the History and Theory of Art from Arizona State University, and an Honors BA in Art History from the University of Toronto.



  • $10 for JASDFW members, Crow members, and University of Texas at Dallas staff, students and alumni
  • $15 for General Public
  • FREE for online only tickets

Capacity is limited for in-person lecture and reception. Lecture will be livestreamed for registered participants. In-person guests are strongly encouraged to wear masks and social distance.

Click to Register



“Under the Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa oki nami ura),” also known as “the Great Wave,” from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei), Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese, Tokyo (Edo) 1760–1849 Tokyo (Edo)), Edo period (1615–1868), ca. 1830–32, polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper; 25.7 x 37.9 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929.