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Japanese weaponry, artistry merge in Jasper52 sale April 24

Jasper52 will present a diverse sale of Asian art and antiques on Wednesday, April 24. Among the highlights are samurai swords, exquisite ceramics and colorful woodblock prints.

 

Kawase Hasui, ‘After Snow at Yoshida,’ woodblock print, 1944, 14½in. x 20in. Estimate: $3,000-$5,000. Jasper52 image

 

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Western artists shine in Jasper52 woodblock prints auction Feb. 12

Works by two Western living artists, two by American Mary Brodbeck and three by Scottish artist Paul Binnie, are featured in a Japanese woodblock prints auction that will be conducted by Jasper52 on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

Mary Brodbeck (b.1958), ‘Gap,’ 2000, first/only edition, numbered 21/40, 18 x 24 inches.
Estimate: $1,000-$1,250. Jasper52 image

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Shin-hanga gives new look to Japanese woodblock auction Nov. 14

Shin-hanga was an art movement in early 20th-century Japan, during the Taisho and Showa periods, that revitalized traditional ukiyo-e art rooted in the Edo and Meiji periods. A Jasper52 auction on Wednesday, Nov. 14, features shin-hanga giants such as Kawase Hasui and Ohara Koson, as well as other artists such as Ogata Gekko, Shiro Kasamatsu and Ono Bakufu. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

Kawase Hasui woodblock print titled ‘After Snow at Yoshida,’ published by Watanabe, 1944, 14½ x 20 inches. Estimate: $4,000-$5,000. Jasper52 image

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Beautiful views of Japan found in woodblock print sale July 17

Scenic views or Japan and glimpses into Japanese culture are found in a Jasper52 auction of woodblock prints on Tuesday, July 17. The collection of 134 Japanese prints reveals the influences the traditional medium has had in the development of modern art.

Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), ‘A Poem by Nakatomi,’ circa 1835-1845, 15 x 10.2in. Estimate: $11,000-$13,000. Jasper52 image

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Japanese woodblock print sale March 6 offers 1st editions

Jasper52, a leading purveyor of antique and collectible Japanese woodblock prints, will present another outstanding collection in an online auction on Tuesday, March 6. Subjects range from geographic landmarks such as Mount Fuji to beautiful geisha. Many of the lots in this Marquee Japanese Woodblock Prints Auction are original first impressions.

Utagawa Hiroshige, ‘View of Miho Bay in Suruga Province,’ rare fan print, 1845-46, first edition, uchiwa-e size, 9.5 x 14.5 in. Estimate: $1,000-$1,200. Jasper52 image

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Beautiful geishas grace Jasper52 woodblock prints auction Nov. 14

Beautiful women, often geisha, were favorite subjects of artists working in traditional Japanese woodblock prints. Several of these colorful prints are among the top lots in a Jasper 52 online auction of Japanese woodblock prints being held Tuesday, Nov. 14, beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern time.

Ikeda Eisen, ‘Geisha of the Eastern Capital, published by Sano-ki, original edition of circa 1825, oban size (approx. 15in. x 10in.). Estimate; $3,800-$4,000. Jasper52 image

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Beauty Abounds in Japanese Woodblock Prints

The beauty of Japan and its culture is abundant in this curated collection of both vintage and modern Japanese woodblock prints. More than 200 prints, many of which are first editions, will be auctioned in this sale. Take a peek at some of the highlights from this auction.

One of the featured lots in the collection is an early edition (circa 1936-1950s) of Tsuchiya Koitsu’s Lake Motosu(Mount Fuji Sunset Glow) or (Motosu-ko). This print is in excellent condition.

Tsuchiya Koitsu, ‘Lake Motosu’ (Mount Fuji Sunset Glow) (Motosu-ko), March 1934 (early edition, circa 1936-1950s), published by Doi Hangaten, 9 ½ in. x 14 3/8 in. Estimate: $1,800-$2,400. Jasper52 image

 

Tsuchiya Koitsu (1870-1949) produced prints of the Sino-Japanese War early in his career, but later focused on Shin Hanga landscape prints. He was a leading exponent of the Shin Hanga (literally “new prints”) movement, which was an art movement in the early 20th-century Japan that revitalized traditional ukiyo-e art rooted in the Edo and Meiji periods (17th-19th century). It maintained the traditional ukiyo-e collaborative system in which the artist, carver, printed and publisher engaged in the division of labor. Its imagery focused on landscapes, women and nature.

Japan’s beauty extends beyond landmarks. Japanese woodblock printmakers are noted for depicting attractive female subjects. Goyo Hashiguchi (1880-1920) was a Japanese Shin Hanga artist. He was well-known for high quality prints of women with vanity subjects such as bathing, applying makeup and brushing hair. An example is his print titled Applying Powder.

Goyo Hashiguchi, ‘Applying Powder,’ 1920, this family authorized auto-zuri edition published by Tanseisha, 15.5 in. x 21.75 in. Estimate: $3,800-$4,200. Jasper52 image

 

A modern take on the subject is In the Bedroom by Yoshio Okada (born 1934), an artist who specializes in prints of sexy Japanese women. His prints are rare and not well known.

Yoshio Okada, ‘In the Bedroom,’ 1974, published by the artist. Estimate: $2,000-$2,500. Jasper52 image

 

Having the highest estimate in the auction – $3,800-$4,200 – is Hasui Kawase’s Dawn at Daikon Gashi Riverbank (Daikon-gashi no Asa), which is from the artist’s Twenty Views of Tokyo Series. This 1927 print bears the appropriate first edition printing seal and is in very good condition with excellent color. Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) become a prominent figure in the shin hanga movement, which was influenced by European Impressionism. He was honored with the title of a Living National Treasure.

Hasui Kawase, ‘Dawn at Daikon Gashi Riverbank’ (‘Daikon-gashi no Asa’), 1927, ‘first edition’ printing, published by Watanabe Shozaburo, 9 ½ in. x 14 ¼ in. Estimate: $3,800-$4,200. Jasper52 image

 

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, aka Taiso Yoshitoshi, (1839-1892) is often considered the last great master of the ukiyo-e movement of woodblock printing and painting. The term ukiyo-e translates to “pictures of the floating world” and refers to a genre of Japanese art with a wide span of imagery such as kabuki actors, folk tales, landscapes and even erotica. This movement was critical in forming the Western perception of Japanese art. His woodblock print featured in this collection, which depicts a geisha of the Ansei era (1854-1860), is a first edition published in 1888.

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, ‘Looking as if she wants a drink: the appearance of a town geisha of the Ansei era (1854-60),’ published by Tsunashima Kamekichi, 1888 first edition, oban (14.5 in. x 10 in.). Estimate: $3,000-$3,500. Jasper52 image

 

Earlier still is The compound of Mount Narita, Shimosa (Soshu) Province by Utagawa Hiroshige II, a first edition print published in 1859. The artist was the most successful apprentice to study under the last great master of the ukiyo-e movement, Hiroshige.

Utagawa Hiroshige II, ‘The compound of Mount Narita, Shimosa (Soshu) Province,’ published by Uo-ya Heikichi, 5/1859 (this impression), oban tate-e (14 in. x 9.5 in.). Estimate: $2,000-$2,500. Jasper52 image

A Double Exposure to Japanese Woodblock Prints

Art lovers will enjoy this double dose of beautiful Japanese images in this week’s Exclusive Japanese Woodblock Prints auction, presented in two sessions. The opening session consists of 58 premium-quality Japanese woodblock prints, both vintage originals and contemporary productions; while the following sale features excellent prints at a more affordable price point.

The auction opens with a View of Miho Bay by the renowned Ando Hiroshige in the form of a fan. The impression is from the original first edition created in 1845-46. Ando Hiroshige was a ukiyo-e artist, considered the last great master of that great master of the genre of Japanese art, which flourished from the 17th through 19th centuries. He is famous for his landscapes.

Ando Hiroshige, ‘View of Miho Bay,’ original 1845-46 edition, rare fan print. Estimate: $1,300-$1,400. Jasper52 image

 

Hasui Kawase (1883-1957) was a Japanese artist and printmaker who became a prominent figure in the shin-hanga (“new prints”) movement of the early 20th century. This movement was influenced by European Impressionism, and its imagery focused on landscapes, women and nature. His Dusk at Ushibori is an excellent example. This first edition, numbered 189/300, was published in 1930 by Sakai & Kawaguchi.

Kawase Hasui, ‘Dusk at Ushibori,’ Sakai & Kawaguchi, 1930 (first, limited edition, 189/300), oban tate-e (approx. 15 x 10 in.). Estimate: $4,200-$4,500. Jasper52 image

 

Takehisa Yumeiji became famous for his paintings, prints and books expressing the particular feeling of the Taisho democracy (1912-1926) and Taisho romanticism. Next to classical depictions of young women wearing kimonos, his subjects are also depicted as a type of “modern” girl (moga) dressed in western clothes. The influence of the Art Deco style, which found its way to Japan in 1920s, is also noticeable in Yumeiji’s work. Due to the artist’s death at the age of 49, much of his work was published posthumously, as is the case of the print in this collection. Kuroi neko (Black cat) is a limited edition numbered 69/150, which was published by Kato Junki in the 1950s.

Takehisa Yumeiji, ‘Black cat (‘kuroi neko’), Kato Junji, limited edition, 69/150, 1950s, dai oban (approx. 17 x 12 inches). Estimate: $1,900-$2,000. Jasper52 image

 

Contemporary examples of Japanese woodblock prints in the auction include a limited-edition work by Daniel Kelly, an American based in Kyoto, Japan. His pencil-signed and dated 2009 print Camellia is numbered 69/90.

Daniel Kelly (American, b. 1947), ‘Camellia,’ limited edition, 66/90, pencil signed and dated 2009, 40 1/2 x 37 in. Estimate: $3,200-$3,500. Jasper52 image

 

The second session features excellent-quality Japanese woodblock prints at attractive price points. A standout in the second collection is Katsuhira Tokushi’s woodblock print titled Kamado (Cooking Stove), which depicts the interior of a Japanese dwelling. This 1939 print from Tokushi’s Customs of Akita series was self-published by the artist.

Katsuhira Tokushi, ‘Kamado’ (Cooking Stove), Customs of Akita series, 1939, self-published by the artist. Size: Oban. approximately 16 x 11 1/2 in. Estimate: $900-$1,000. Jasper52 image

 

Ikeda Eisen (1970-1848) was a Japanese ukiyo-e artist who specialized in bijn-ga (pictures of beautiful women). His woodblock print titled Geisha of the Eastern Capital is a prime example. It is from the original edition done in 1825 by Sano-ki and comes from the Huguette Berés collection, Paris.

Ikeda Eisen, ‘Geisha of the Eastern Capital,’ Sano-ki. Size: oban (approx. 15 x 10 inches), from the original edition of circa 1825. Estimate: $4,000-$4,500. Jasper52 image

 

Take a look at the fully illustrated catalogs and enjoy the two auctions.

200 Years of Japanese Prints

Travel in time through 200 years of Japanese history and culture. This week’s Japanese woodblock prints auction presents a curated collection of 50 prints, which explore how printmakers of the past impacted the development of modern art. Prints in this catalog range from Nishijima Katsuyuki’s Boat on Shore, a signed and numbered first edition from 1990, to the iconic Great Wave off Kanagawa, created by Katsuhika Hokusai in the 1820s.

Nishijima Katsuyuki, ‘Boats on Shore,’ 21 x 14 3/4 inches, 1990, first edition, signed and numbered 116/500. Estimate: $400-$500. Jasper52 image

 

The Great Wave print was purchased at the National Museum of Tokyo about 25 years ago. Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) was a ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period. He is best known as author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, which includes the internationally recognized The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

Hokusai Katsushika, ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa,’ 15 1/2 in. x 10 1/2 in. Estimate: $300-$400. Jasper52 image

 

Katsuyuki Nishijima (born 1945) is known for his woodblock prints that maintain the tradition and spirit of the ukiyo-e printmakers, while adding his own touch of modern simplicity. His prints show a romantic image of Japan.

The term ukiyo-e translates to “pictures of the floating world” and refers to a genre of Japanese art with a wide span of imagery. This movement was critical in forming the Western perception of Japanese art.

Another first edition in the auction is Silhouette of a Woman with Umbrella by Kamatsu Shiro (1898-1991), a Japanese artist who found success early in his career. Shozaburo Watanabe first saw his work in 1919 and published more than 50 of his prints by the late 1940s. Shiro was a part of the shin-hanga movement, which was created from the late Meiji era until World War II, showing a mixture of traditional Japanese and modern western elements.

Kasamatsu Shiro, ‘Silhouette of a Woman with Umbrella,’ first edition Japanese woodblock print, 5 in. x 10.3 in. Estimate: $200-$250. Jasper52 image

 

Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) is considered the last great master of the ukiyo-e movement. His Lingering Snow at Asukayama is a Showa era (1926-1898) print published by Adachi from re-carved woodblocks. His approach was more poetic and ambient than the typical ukiyo-e style, and his innovative compositions were a great influence to Western painters.

Ando Hiroshige, ‘Lingering Snow at Asukayama,’ 14 3/4 in. x 10 in., Showa-era edition published by Adachi from re-carved woodblocks. Estimate: $250-$300. Jasper52 image

 

Koitsu Tsuchiya (1879-1949) specialized in landscape images. His 1934 print titled Snow at the Ukimido, Katada is from an edition published in 1946-57 by Watanabe with the publisher’s seal.

Koitsu Tsuchiya, ‘Snow at the Ukimido, Katada,’ 10.3 in x 15.4 in. Estimate: $400-$500. Jasper52 image

 

Another highlight of the collection is an atmospheric image of a Tokyo landmark, Rain at Nihonbashi Bridge, by Noel Nouet. Created in 1936, this print is a later edition from the original block published by Doi on Doi watermarked paper.

Noel Nouet, ‘Rain at Nihonbashi Bridge,’ 10 1/2 in. x 15 1/2 in. Estimate: $400-$500. Jasper52 image

6 Fascinating Facts About Cats in Japanese Art

It’s hard to dispute the global popularity of cats, whether you fancy them or not. From museums to memes, they are represented in ancient Japanese art and contemporary communications. That’s quite a narration for the four-legged creatures who reportedly first took up residence in Japan around 500 A.D. The cats were brought on as crew members of ships departing China for Japan, charged with the task of protecting religious documents against destruction by mice. Obviously, their missions as mousers runs deep.

Upon arriving in Japan, it didn’t take long for felines to establish a revered presence within ancient Japanese culture. However, even as celebrated as they were, according to Japanese folklore, cats were also viewed by some as devious and perhaps possessing of darker traits. Nevertheless, one thing is certain, the presence of felines in Japanese art is extensive, and dates back centuries. With that, here are 6 intriguing facts about cats in Japanese art.

  1. One of the masters of ukiyo-e woodblock art of the 17th century, Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), was reportedly a serious fan of felines, often sharing his living space with multiple cats at any given time. In fact, it is said that he kept a record of the cats that died, and treated the passing of each with a great symbolic reverence.

    Ukiyo-e woodblock art, “Cats of the Tokaido Road Triptych” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Sold for $1,100. Jasper52 image

  2. Another centuries-old applauded feline of Japanese art and culture is the Maneki Neko. Immediately recognizable for its raised and welcoming paw, the Maneki Neko (commonly referred to as Fortune Cat or Lucky Cat) is said to bear multiple telling symbols. For example, if the Maneki Neko bears calico colors, which is a traditional shading, it is said to hold the most potential for luck. You might also notice, the raised paw of a Maneki Neko figurine could be either the left or the right paw. Either way, the symbolism is positive, and is said to be a gesture of beckoning wealth and luck.
  3. In 1979, Japan issued a commemorative postage stamp featuring the painting “Black Cat,” circa 1910, created by Meiji-period painter Hishida Shunso (formal name was Hishida Miyoji) during a period of only five days. Interestingly, Shunso’s portrait also appeared on a postage stamp, as part of Japan’s Famous Japanese Personalities series in 1951.

    An image of the painting done by Shunso in 1910, and the postage stamp featuring the image, issued in 1979. ArtHistoryProject.com images

  4. One of the most heralded modern exhibitions featuring cats in Japanese artwork was the “Life of Cats: Selections From the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Collection.” The exhibition was presented in 2015 by the Japan Society Gallery in New York. Nearly 90 examples of Japanese art, in various mediums, was included in the exhibition.
  5. The presence of cats in Japanese art isn’t limited to sweet and small. Big cats also appear in artwork dating back centuries. One of the largest and most diverse collections of Japanese art in the world can be found at The Cleveland Museum of Art. The collection boasts 1,950 pieces, including the impressive six-panel ink on paper work titled “Dragon and Tiger” by 16th century Japanese and Zen monk Sesson Shukei.

    “Dragon and Tiger” six-panel folding screen ink on paper, 16th century, by Sesson Shukei. The Cleveland Museum of Art image

     

  6. Cats are also beloved characters within the storylines and art of modern-day manga – comics created in Japan. For instance, the character Minako Aino, in the wildly popular “Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon” manga of the late 20th century, is accompanied by her talking guardian and advisor, a white cat named Artemis. The manga is the vision of Japanese artist and writer Nako Takeuchi (1967). The illustrations and largely female-led cast of characters went on to influence the development of Magical Girl manga and anime.

Be it centuries-old ukiyo-e woodblock art or modern-day manga and anime art, the reverence for felines is a common thread within the art culture of Japan. Whether it’s because of their supposed mystical properties, elegant and mysterious characteristics, or something else altogether, the fascination with felines in Japanese art and society is alive and well.