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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.