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.
A Catalogue Raisonné
Hilary Chapman and Libby Horner
David R. Weinberg
Kuniyoshi The Faithful Samurai is a pioneering publication which deals with the most famous series – the Seichū gishi den (1847-48) and its sequel the Seichū gishin den (1848) – of the forty-seven masterless samurai ( rōnin) by artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). The true 18th-century tale of revenge by forty-seven rōnin for the death of their lord was enormously popular in Japan: it was dramatised for the Kabuki theatre and its heroes were often depicted in ukiyo-e prints. Kuniyoshi was a master in the genre of warrior prints, and his series expressively portrays these warrior ‘folk heroes’. Dr. Weinberg’s book also includes translations of the texts which appear on the prints and which recount each hero’s exploits. In addition, there are photographs of the relics of the masterless samurai and the ruins of their castle in Akō.
Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) designed a series of 70 landscapes depicting the provinces of Japan between 1854 and 1856. It was the first of a number of sets from the highly productive years of his later life. The designs comprising Famous places in the 60-odd provinces ( Rokuju yoshu meisho zue) are taken from all corners of Japan. Designs published before this series had already depicted the famous routes between Edo and Kyoto, the Tokaido and the Kisokaido, and various well known locations such as the famous waterfalls, Lake Omi and the Jewel Rivers, but a series on such a grand scale devoted to the provincies was a novelty. It evidently met with critical acclaim as the publishers Koshimuraya Heisuke issued several editions. In this study, the author Marije Jansen briefly discusses Hiroshige's life and the formal aspects of this series. Jansen takes as her point of departure the set in possession of the German collector Gerhard Pulverer, which is generally acknowledged to be a superb example of a first edition, and compares this series to a number of other sets in public and private collections. The detectable printing variations in each design are carefully analysed, making this an indispensable tool for collectors.
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.
Taisō Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) was the most popular woodblock artist of his day. Customers lined up on the day of publication for his prints of historical characters and beautiful women. His career, which introduced subtle psychological observation to the artistic and representational world of ukiyo-e, straddled the tumultuous late Edo and early Meiji periods. Yoshitoshi was fascinated by the supernatural, and some of his best work concerns ghosts, monsters, and charming animal transmutations. Yoshitoshi’s strange tales presents two series that focus on his depictions of the weird and magical world of the transformed. The first series dates from the beginning and the second from the end of the artist’s abbreviated career, encapsulating his artistic development. One Hundred Tales of Japan and China ( Wakan hyaku monogatari) of 1865 is based on a game in which people told short scary ghost tales in a darkened room, extinguishing a candle as each tale ended. New Forms of Thirty-six Strange Things ( Shinken sanjūrokkaisen) of 1889-92 illustrates stories from Japan’s rich heritage of legends in more serene and objective ways. The book opens with a study of Japanese ghost prints and analysis of Yoshitoshi’s changing treatments of the genre, and reproduces three rare paintings by the artist. This is Yoshitoshi at his most whimsical and imaginative. This title is now only available as a paper back with ISBN 9789004337374.
Kuniyoshi's Heroes of the Suikoden
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.
Selections from the Nihon no Hanga collection, Amsterdam
Chris Uhlenbeck, Amy Newland and Maureen de Vries
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. Contributors: 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
Nozomi Naoi and Sabine Schenk
Takehisa Yumeji (1884–1934) remains today one of the most celebrated Japanese artists. His unique style — characterised by a romantic, melancholic image of women—has remained popular with contemporary Japanese audiences. The six museums dedicated to his work as painter, printmaker and illustrator are testimony to his enduring appeal. Takehisa Yumeiji is the first publication outside Japan devoted to Yumeji's life and art. It chronicles the individuality of his art practice as well as the diverse sources of his creative inspiration, ranging from traditional Japanese ukiyo-e print designers such as Kitagawa Utamaro (1753–1806) to Western graphic design and modern art movements such as Jugendstil and Cubism. This fully illustrated volume features over one hundred and eighty works drawn from the Nihon no Hanga museum in Amsterdam, which boasts the largest collection of Yumeji prints outside Japan.
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.