When the Boston Museum of Fine Art launched an exhibition of the Japanese artist Hokusai this spring, one of the places it turned to for material was the Fordham Library’s Special Collection.

The library lent the museum Collection of Drawings for Art and Industry, (Recueil des dessins pour l’art et l’industrie) a book published in France in 1859, for use in their exhibit “Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence,” which is at the museum until July 16. It will then move to Seattle.

Collection of Drawings for Art and Industry, featuring a portfolio of plates displaying examples of Japonisme. Photos courtesy of the Boston Museum of Fine Art

Hokusai is perhaps best known for Under the Wave off Kanagawa, a woodblock print from 1831-1839 featuring a ship and Mount Fuji. Though Collection of Drawings for Art and Industry doesn’t include work by Hokusai, it features art that informed his work. In the book are a portfolio of plates that were created by the artists Adalbert Beaumont and Auguste Delâtre.

The book shows how Hokusai was influenced, and had an influence, on others in the 19th century.

The two plates feature prints of birds and are cited in the exhibit as examples of Japonisme, a French term coined in the late nineteenth century to describe the craze for Japanese art and design in the West. The Japonisme phenomenon is important to understanding the environment in which Hokusai worked.

Linda Loschiavo, director of Fordham Libraries, said she fully supported loaning the book for the exhibit.

“I’m always thrilled to loan something from our collections,” she said.

Loschiavo noted that the library has loaned works to institutions in the past. Over the years, Yale University, St. Bonaventure University, and Versailles have all borrowed Revolutionary War artifacts, memorabilia, and Americana from Fordham Libraries’ Charles Allen Munn Collection.

“The wonderful aspect of loaning to another institution is the spotlight that it puts on Fordham’s collections. Participating in a show with a prestigious institution like the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston garners worldwide coverage,” she said.

“The exhibit will also be traveling to Seattle as well, so we’ll be allowing people across the country to view our treasures, and link the beauty and the importance of what they’re seeing to Fordham.”

The exhibit will be on display until July 16, and then will move to Seattle.

Patrick Verel is a news producer for Fordham Now. He can be reached at [email protected] or (212) 636-7790.