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Hilary Chapman and Libby Horner

Yoshijiro Urushibara: A Japanese printmaker in London is a catalogue raisonné of the work of Yoshijiro Urushibara (1889–1953), a Japanese artist and craftsman who lived and worked in London from 1910 to 1940. During his thirty years in Europe, Urushibara produced a considerable number of prints and played a major role in encouraging the production and appreciation of the colour woodcut in the Japanese manner, especially in Britain. Throughout his career Urushibara contributed to cross-cultural interactivity, collaborating with several European artists. His most famous and successful collaboration was with the British artist Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956).
The authors had unique access to the artist’s family archive in Tokyo and recorded and evaluated the extent of Urushibara’s print production. With fully researched catalogue entries, full-colour illustrations, and illuminating biographical and contextual essays, this publication – the first of its kind in the English language - provides a comprehensive account of Urushibara’s life and oeuvre.

Robert Schaap

Utagawa Kunisada (1786–1865) was one of the most successful Japanese woodblock print designers of his age. With an estimated output of some twenty-five thousand prints during a career spanning almost sixty years Kunisada was a towering figure in the sphere of ukiyo-e. His versatility and inventiveness extended across genres, from the stars of the kabuki stage to the women from the pleasure districts, the world of entertainment and the everyday, as well as landscapes, warriors and literary themes.

Kunisada was greatly respected during his lifetime as a print designer of the Utagawa school and as the head of a successful studio with students, such as Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900), who would carry the tradition of woodblock prints into the Meiji period (1868–1912). Yet scholars, collectors and connoisseurs in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries dismissed him and many of his contemporaries as ‘decadent’. And in recent decades his achievements have often been overshadowed by his contemporary Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797−1861). Kunisada: imaging drama and beauty offers a fresh perspective on this ukiyo-e master, demonstrating the high calibre of his art with prints, paintings and books sourced from international public and private collections. Although the over one hundred and fifty works in the publication represent only a small part of Kunisada’s vast oeuvre, they serve to convey his skill in capturing and imagining Japanese popular culture of the first half of the nineteenth century.

Of Brigands and Bravery

Kuniyoshi's Heroes of the Suikoden

Inge Klompmakers

Of brigands and bravery: Kuniyoshi’s heroes of the Suikoden is the first monograph in English on the stunning series of 74 prints illustrating figures from the Suikoden by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), one of the outstanding Japanese woodblock-print masters of the 19th century.

The Suikoden (commonly known in English as The water margin) is the Japanese adaptation of the 14th-century Chinese vernacular novel, the Shui hu zhuan, which recounts the exploits of a group of rebels on Mount Liang (J. Ryösanpaku) under the lead of the brave and righteous Song Jiang. The Suikoden was enormously popular in Japan during the 19th century. It was Kuniyoshi’s initial designs for the single-sheet print series The one hundred and eight heroes of the popular Suikoden (Tsüzoku Suikoden göketsu hyakuhachinin no hitori) - in which the full-length portraits of the heroes are charged with a new sense of dynamism - that spurred a Suikoden craze in Edo (present-day Tokyo).

Of brigands and bravery reproduces the 74 known designs of the series in full colour; each is accompanied by an explanatory text. The publication also offers supplementary information on topics relating specifically to the series such as tattooing: a number of the Suikoden figures are adorned with tattoos and it is thought that Kuniyoshi himself had a passion for this art. In addition, Kuniyoshi’s illustration of a variety of armour and dress types, his at times graphic portrayal of the heroes in battle and his integration of western stylistic devices are testimony to the creative genius behind the Suikoden series.

Joshua S. Mostow and Asato Ikeda

Gender relations were complex in Edo-period Japan (1603–1868). Wakashu, male youths, were desired by men and women, constituting a “third gender” with their androgynous appearance and variable sexuality. For the first time outside Japan, A Third Gender examines the fascination with wakashu in Edo-period culture and their visual representation in art, demonstrating how they destabilize the conventionally held model of gender binarism.

The volume will reproduce, in colour, over a hundred works, mostly woodblock prints and illustrated books from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries produced by a number of designers ranging from such well-known artists as Okumura Masanobu, Suzuki Harunobu, Kitagawa Utamaro and Utagawa Kunisada, to lesser known artists such as Shigemasa, Eishi and Eiri. A Third Gender is based on the collection of the Royal Ontario Museum, which houses the largest collection of Japanese art in Canada, including more than 2,500 woodblock prints.

Water and Shadow

Kawase Hasui and Japanese Landscape Prints

Kendall H. Brown

Known as Japan’s premier “poet of place,” Kawase Hasui is one of the most popular landscape artists of the twentieth century. This richly illustrated catalogue spans Kawase Hasui’s most imaginative period—the years from 1918 to the Great Earthquake of 1923. An important contributor to the early shin-hanga (new print) movement, Hasui crafted distinctive landscapes that also recall artistic traditions ranging from ukiyo-e and French Japonisme to Post-Impressionist painting.

Water and Shadow is based on the unparalleled collection donated to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts by René and Carolyn Balcer. These selections exemplify the creativity of Hasui’s early work and reveal the dynamic interplay between his prints, graphic design, and rare but spectacular paintings. Five essays by leading scholars in North America and Japan explore Hasui’s methods, art historical relationships, and themes as well as some socioeconomic aspects of the print business.

Erotic Japonisme

The Influence of Japanese Sexual Imagery on Western Art

Ricard Bru

At its height in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Japonisme had a tremendous impact on Western art. In this publication, author Ricard Bru approaches the cultural phenomenon of Japonisme from an innovative standpoint. He presents an in-depth discussion of the influence of Japanese printed erotic imagery by ukiyo-e masters such as Kitagawa Utamaro, Katsushika Hokusai, and Utagawa Hiroshige on European artists, including Edgar Degas, Auguste Rodin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Gustav Klimt and Pablo Picasso, as well as writers, critics, and collectors, such as Edmond de Goncourt, Joris-Karl Huysmans, and Émile Zola. With over 160 color illustrations sourced from public and private collections, Erotic Japonisme demonstrates the rich artistic dialogue that existed between Europe and Japan.

Yoshitoshi

Masterpieces from the Ed Freis Collection

Edited by Chris Uhlenbeck and Amy Reigle Newland

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839–1892) created some of the most spectacular designs in 19th century Japanese woodblock prints. The last comprehensive overview of Yoshitoshi’s work was published almost twenty years ago, but advances in scholarship since then have resulted in a re-evaluation of his work. This publication draws from the Ed Freis collection, which was assembled over the course of thirty years. It illustrates numerous works from Yoshitoshi’s early career, including several prints that have to date not appeared in Western language catalogues.

The two essays in the volume by Chris Uhlenbeck and Amy Reigle Newland take new approaches in the discussion of the art and life of Yoshitoshi, and depend little on the usual, at times dubitable, sources frequently used to paint a portrait of the artist. Chris Uhlenbeck offers insight into Yoshitoshi through a discussion of extant prints. He charts the development of Yoshitoshi’s work from the late 1850s, when he received his first substantial commissions from various publishers, to his death at the age fifty-three in 1892. Amy Reigle Newland establishes Yoshitoshi’s position among his peers using contemporary accounts found in types of popular guidebooks known as nazorae saiken(ki) (‘riddle guidebooks’) and in the emerging press.

The more than 160 illustrations in the volume are fully annotated. Ed Freis has selected a handful of Yoshitoshi’s signature works to highlight the details of process and variant editions. Maureen de Vries succinctly describes the often complex, layered iconography of Yoshitoshi’s imagery. Robert Schaap has created a valuable pictorial appendix of all Yoshitoshi’s documented serial works.