Jonathan Meuli: Sketches After Hokusai, 1, The Great Wave


Jonathan Meuli

Sketches After Hokusai  No 1 (Great Wave off Kanagawa)
mixed media on paper, 2020,

244 x 285 mm


Jonathan Meuli Sketches After Hokusai, 1, the Great Wave, is one from a group of four drawings. He made them after Hokusai’s 36 Views of Mount Fuji, his famous woodcut series from 1829-1833. He drew them specially for Japan Water.

After Hokusai (Great Wave off Kanagawa) relates in a general way to the most famous image in the whole series. It is the iconic Tsunami. It is world famous, This is the one image which features in reproduction on t-shirts, cushions and posters everywhere. For Jonathan the drawing was an exercise in imagination, in empathy. It is also a tribute to a master.

Hokusai The Great Wave off Kanagawa

Hokusai The Great Wave off Kanagawa, 1829-1833

Jonathan has been profoundly influenced by Hokusai and says: “Isao Miura (co-exhibitor in Japan Water) is my friend. But so too, I have learned, is Hokusai. I look at his pictures every day. They are postcards from places which I will never visit. Re-employing my imagination to supply colour, incident, passion, encounter, I now wonder whether other imaginings are becoming morally possible again. “

About the artist

Jonathan Meuli originally studied art history in Cambridge, followed by an MA at the University of East Anglia, before becoming a painter. He lives and works now in Glasgow, but maintains close links with East Anglia, for example showing a selection of his landscape and abstract paintings at Wolfson College Cambridge in 2018.

Since the devastating Japanese tsunami of 2011, Meuli has developed a powerful series of Wave Paintings and River Scrolls influenced by Hokusai but also by a fascination with colour and the actual observation of the movement of waves. Like the water beneath a wave, the underlayers of these paintings are dense and still and carefully planned, while the surface layers erupt in rapid brushstrokes.