Waves of renewal: modern Japanese prints, 1900 to 1960

Selections from the Nihon no Hanga collection, Amsterdam

Waves of renewal traces the history of Japanese printmaking following an era of decline beginning in the late nineteenth century. The early twentieth century witnessed the emergence of two principal printmaking movements. The first—shin hanga (new print)—reinvented and revitalised the conventional genres of landscape, beauties and actors. Shin hanga adhered to a traditional production method that was based on the cooperation between artist, block-cutter, printer and publisher. At the same time, it strove to forge a new visual language in both style and technique. The second—sōsaku hanga (creative print)—was inspired by the dialogue between Western and Japanese art and aesthetics. In the main, sōsaku hanga adherents advocated the participation of the artist in the entire creative process from design to production.

Waves of renewal is the most comprehensive publication to date to focus on the holdings of the Nihon no hanga collection in Amsterdam. The 277 prints included showcase the sophistication of shin hanga and the boldness of sōsaku hanga. An introductory essay sets the stage, followed by ten shorter essays by noted scholars in the field that centre on aspects integral to our understanding of early to mid-twentieth century Japanese printmaking. Each print is documented and annotated in the extensive catalogue section.

Chris Uhlenbeck; Amy Reigle Newland; Shōichirō Watanabe; Setsuko Abe; Kendall H. Brown; Mikiko Hirayama; Junko Nishiyama; Chiaki Ajioka; Noriko Kuwahara; Kiyoko Sawatari; Maureen de Vries

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[This] well-documented catalogue provides an almost completely comprehensive survey of Japanese prints from the first six decades of the twentieth century, augmented with ten essays on various aspects of modern printmaking. Produced in large format and brilliant color by Hotei Publishing, a press that has set the highest standards for English-language works on Japanese art over the last two decades, Waves of Renewal is both a beautiful “coffee table book” and a resource that scholars in this area will rely upon for many years to come. (…) Waves of Renewal is an excellent resource, combining the best aspects of scholarly monograph and exhibition catalogue. Frank L. Chance in The Journal of Japanese Studies, Volume 44, Number 2, Summer 2018, pp. 442-445.
Scholars; curators and collectors of modern Japanese prints.
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