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Printed and Painted: The Meiji Art of Ogata Gekkō (1859–1920) is the first English-language publication to offer an in-depth look at the life and career of the Japanese painter and woodblock-print designer Ogata Gekkō. This publication brings together 140 prints and paintings by Gekkō, his students and his contemporaries such as Kawanabe Kyōsai, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi and Yōshū Chikanobu across five subject areas: history and legend; pictures of beautiful women; the natural world, rural and city views; literature and theatre; and modern wars and modern soldiers. The extensive introduction brings to life the character and art of Gekkō, including a translation of a personal account by his accomplished student, the shin-hanga (New Print) artist Yamamura Kōka. An artist often overlooked in discussions of the art of the Meiji period (1868–1912), the publication seeks to highlight the vibrant printed and painted world of the era.
Masterpieces from the Ed Freis Collection
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.
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.

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