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Traveling from Tradition to Modern Through Japanese Prints

Colorful views of Japan conveyed in traditional Japanese woodblock prints comprise this week’s collection filled with both modern and traditional works. With this array of Japanese woodblock prints, you can see directly how Japanese printmakers impacted the development of modern art. Featuring names like Hokusai and Hiroshige, this sale reveals nuanced techniques and traditional Japanese values.

Utagawa Hiroshige, aka ando Hiroshige, was a Japanese artist of the 19th century and is considered the last great master of the ukiyo-e movement. His approach was more poetic and ambient than the typical ukiyo-e style, and his innovative compositions were a great influence to Western painters.

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.

Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858), ‘Abalone, Needlefish and Peach Blossoms,’ 24.2 x 37.1 cm (9 1/2in x 14 5/8 in), printed in circa 1832. Estimate: $400-$500. Jasper52 image

 

Mountain Road is a traditional landscape scene of mountains and countryside by Gihachiro Okuyama (1907-1981). He was an active participant in both the sosaku hanga movement, which was the avant-garde movement of the 1950s-1970s, and the shin hanga movement, showing a mixture of traditional Japanese and modern Western elements.

Gihachiro Okuyama, ‘Mountain Road,’ 48.9 x 24.9cm, Showa (1926-1989). Estimate: $150-$200. Jasper52 image

 

Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period. He is best known as the author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, which includes the internationally iconic print titled The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, created during the 1820s, as well as Mount Fuji Seen From the Sea.

Hokusai Katsushika, ‘Mount Fuji Seen From the Sea,’ Showa edition published by Takamizawa, publisher’s seal on verso, 12.4in x 9in. Estimate: $400-$500. Jasper52 image

 

Shiro Kasamatsu (1898-1991) found early success. His prints were seen by Watanabe Shozaburo in 1919, and he published more than 50 prints with them by the late 1940s. He 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.

Shiro Kasamatsu, ‘Kinokunisaka in the rain,’ published by Watanabe, 6 mm seal, signed Shiro, postwar impression, 1946-1957, ôban format, 26.5 x 38.8 cm. Estimate: $250-$350. Jasper52 image

 

Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950) is regarded as one of the greatest artists of the shin-hanga style movement, a movement that was influenced by European Impressionism with imagery focused on landscapes, women and nature. Yoshida is noted especially for his excellent landscape prints.

Hiroshi Yoshida, ‘Fujiyama from Okitsu,’ ôban format, 39.9 x 27.4 cm (15 11/16in x 10 13/16 in), printed circa 1928. Estimate: $800-$1,000. Jasper52 image

 

Hasui Kawase (1883-1957) was a Japanese artist and printmaker who also became a prominent figure in the shin-hanga (“new prints”) movement of the early 20th century. His first edition Spring Evening, Ueno Toshogu Shrine from 1948 is a stunning example of his work.

Kawase Hasui, ‘Spring Evening, Ueno Toshogu Shrine,’ 1948 (first edition), published by Watanabe Shozaburo, 9 1/2in x 14 1/4in. Estimate: $800-$1,500. Jasper52 image

 

Enjoy this beautiful collection and remember to register to bid.

7 Woodblock Prints Where the Beauty of Japan Shines Through

The landscapes, traditions and customs of 19th and 20th century Japan are depicted in this stunning collection of Japanese woodblock prints. Whether capturing the serenity of a temple or a moonlit seashore, these images exemplify both fine art and elegant decoration. With many renowned Japanese artists featured in this auction, the true beauty of Japanese landscape and culture shine through, most especially in these 7 prints below:

‘Beauties by River before Cherry Blossoms’ by Kitigawa Utamaro

Kitigawa Utamaro (1753-1806) was one of the most highly regarded practitioners of the ukiyo-e genre of woodblock prints, especially for his portraits of beautiful women, or bijin-ga.

Kitigawa Utamaro, ‘Beauties by River before Cherry Blossoms,’ 1800, Oban design, 10 x 15.5 inches. Estimate: $1,500-$2,000

Kitigawa Utamaro, ‘Beauties by River before Cherry Blossoms,’ 1800, Oban design, 10 x 15.5 inches. Estimate: $1,500-$2,000

 

‘Ogiya Yugiri, Fujiya Izaemon’ by Kitigawa Utamaro

Another highly regarded woodblock print by Kitigawa Utamaro titled Yugiri of the Ogiya and Fujiya Izaemon (Ogiya Yugiri, Fujiya Izaemon) comes from his series ‘The True Feelings Compared.’

Kitigawa Utamaro, ‘ Yugiri of the Ogiya and Fujiya Izaemon (Ogiya Yugiri, Fujiya Izaemon),’ 1798-1800, 9.5 x 14.75 inches. Estimate: $3,500-$4,000

Kitigawa Utamaro, ‘ Yugiri of the Ogiya and Fujiya Izaemon (Ogiya Yugiri, Fujiya Izaemon),’ 1798-1800, 9.5 x 14.75 inches. Estimate: $3,500-$4,000

 

‘Rain’ by Torii Kotondo

Also known for depicting beautiful women – only two centuries later – was Torii Kotondo (1900-1976). He was specially trained in the tradition of kabuki actor portraits, and translated this training into his famous portraits of women.

Torii Kotondo, ‘Rain,’ 1930, 11.75 x 18 inches, published by Sakai and Kawaguchi with first edition seal, numbered 104/200, embossed title in bottom margin. Estimate: $6,000-$8,000

Torii Kotondo, ‘Rain,’ 1930, 11.75 x 18 inches, published by Sakai and Kawaguchi with first edition seal, numbered 104/200, embossed title in bottom margin. Estimate: $6,000-$8,000

 

‘Snow at Pond’s Edge’ by Hasui Kawase

Another leading artist in the auction is Hasui Kawase (1883-1957) 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.

Hasui Kawase, ‘Snow at Pond’s Edge,’ 1920, published by Watanabe from the series Mitsubishi Villa at Fukugawa, pre-earthquake edition. Estimate: $5,000-$6,500

Hasui Kawase, ‘Snow at Pond’s Edge,’ 1920, published by Watanabe from the series Mitsubishi Villa at Fukugawa, pre-earthquake edition. Estimate: $5,000-$6,500

 

‘Evening Snow at Ishonomaki’ by Kawase Hasui

One of the most prominent print designers of the shin-hanga movement was Kawase Hasui (1883-1957), whose series “Collected Views of Japan” is represented in the auction.

Kawase Hasui, ‘Evening Snow at Ishonomaki (Ishinomaki no bosetsu),’ 1935, Oban design 10 x 15.5 inches. Estimate: $2,800-$3,200

Kawase Hasui, ‘Evening Snow at Ishonomaki (Ishinomaki no bosetsu),’ 1935, Oban design 10 x 15.5 inches. Estimate: $2,800-$3,200

 

‘Cherry Blossoms’ by Toshi Yoshida

Toshi Yoshida (1911-1995) was a Japanese printmaking artist associated with the sosaku-hanga movement, the avant-garde movement of the 1950s-1970s. His woodblock print titled Cherry Blossoms may present an affordable approach to this field of art collecting.

Toshi Yoshida, ‘Cherry Blossoms,’ Oban. Estimate: $150-$200

Toshi Yoshida, ‘Cherry Blossoms,’ Oban. Estimate: $150-$200

 

‘Pagoda in Sunset’ by Ido Masao

Ido Masao is a contemporary Japanese printmaker known for his powerful images of Japanese subjects, including gardens, views of landmarks, theater, and Japanese villages. In this Pagoda in Sunset print from 1980, Masao highlights the beauty of a typical Japanese scene.

Ido Masao, 'Pagoda in Sunset,' 1980. Estimate: $150-$200

Ido Masao, ‘Pagoda in Sunset,’ 1980. Estimate: $150-$200

Don’t miss out on this stunning selection – view the fully illustrated catalog and bid on LiveAuctioneers.