This weekend we are presenting the biggest auction of Japanese woodblock prints to date. Approximately 170 woodblock prints spanning the 19th century to the present will be going up for bids.
Featuring names like Hiroshige and Yoshida, this sale reveals nuanced techniques and traditional Japanese values. Whether capturing the serenity of a temple or a moonlit ocean, these images exemplify both fine art and elegant decoration.
It may come as a surprise, but not all Japanese woodblock prints are created by native Japanese. A few were Western artists who mastered woodblock printing while working there.
A living artist represented in the auction is Daniel Kelly, an American based in Kyoto, Japan. He works primarily in painting and printmaking. His 2015 print titled Red Hook was done in the chine-colle technique, which pulls fine details off the plate.
Another was Paul Jacoulet (1902-1960), a Parisian artist who spent most of his life in Japan and is recognized for his work in Japanese woodblock printing. Here you’ll see his print of Ebisu, Dieu du Bonheur Personnifie.
Yet another contemporary artist whose work is featured in the auction is Katsunori Hamanishi. His Two Poems mezzotint print is accented in gold leaf.
Kiyoshi Saito (1907-1997) was a Japanese sosaku hanga artist. He was one of the first Japanese printmakers to win at the Sao Paulo Biennale in 1951. His 1967 woodblock print titled Onri An Kyoto D, 1967, is one of the low-key highlights in the sale.
Keisai Eisen (1790-1848) was a Japanese ukiyo-e artist who specialized in bijin-ga print designs of beautiful women. In addition to producing a prolific number of prints, he was also a writer. His woodblock prints, Sumida River, is featured in the auction.
Finally, a famous triptych by Utagawa Kuniyoshi recalls the legend of Shuten-doji and Minamoto no Yorimitsu. Shuten-doji was a dreaded ogre who preyed upon Kyoto, kidnapping young women and eating all men who ventured into his realm. The print depicts how the emperor’s greatest warrior prevailed over the oni after a great battle.
View the fully illustrated catalog of Japanese woodblock prints and register to bid.