You’ve seen it. A monster wave that curves like a Coney Island ride, swooping high, blue and white, its lacy crest like a hundred hands reaching toward shore. The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, a woodblock print, is the second most downloaded image from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s online database. It’s also the most famous work made by Katsushika Hokusai, who during his long life, 1760 to 1849, produced thousands of other masterful and witty works. The largest collection of Hokusai was assembled by Charles Lang Freer, and to honor the centennial of Freer’s death in 1919—and with a nod to next year’s Olympics in Tokyo—the Smithsonian celebrates Hokusai’s mastery in many mediums. —L.J.
Freer Gallery of Art 1050 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20560, United States Get Directions »