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Printed to Perfection

Twentieth-century Japanese Prints from the Robert O. Muller Collection

Robert O. Muller can be considered the most important collector in the world of 20th century Japanese prints. He amassed over 4500 designs, tracing back the artistic developments of the past century to the Meiji period (1868-1912).
His holdings, now in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., include the finest possible examples of artists specialized in the portrayal of female beauty such as Hashiguchi Goyô (1880-1921), Itô Shinsui (1898-1972) and Torii Kotondo (1900-1976), the earliest and best works of the two major landscape artists Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) and Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950) as well as numerous works by other, less famous artists providing a comprehensive and fascinating overview of the Shin hanga ('New Print') movement.
Robert O. Muller's exquisite taste and critical attitude has resulted in a collection in the finest imaginable condition. The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Art staged the first major exhibition from this collection in the months of November and December of 2004.
This catalogue accompanies the first exhibition from the donation to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Art of over 4000 prints by the American collector Robert O. Muller, held November 6 2004-2 January 2005.
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Time Present and Time Past

Images of a forgotten Master: Toyohara Kunichika (1835 - 1900)

Time Present and Time Past is the first publication in English to treat in detail the life and work of Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900), who today is considered one of the last Ukiyo-e masters. Kunichika's designs were drawn from established Ukiyo-e genres like Kabuki actor prints ( yakusha-e) and prints of beautiful women ( bijinga), he was however a man of his time and this is reflected in his modern use of colour, composition and subjects. The book includes reproductions of 135 of Kunichika's prints, an extensive bibliography and an overview of signatures and carvers seals.
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Kuniyoshi

Japanese master of imagined worlds

Yuriko Iwakiri and Amy Newland

Enjoying a career spanning almost fifty years, from the 1810s to his death in 1861, Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861) was instrumental in establishing warrior prints as one of the major genres in the history of Japanese woodblock prints (ukiyo-e). His most spectacular triptychs of warriors resonate even in contemporary culture, their influence reflected in modern graphic media such as manga. This publication demonstrates that Kuniyoshi’s artistic genius also extended to the creation of striking prints in other genres: images of beautiful women and kabuki actors, ghosts, demons and monsters, anthropomorphic renditions of animals illustrating everyday life, as well as compositions replete with humour and often involving witty wordplay. Examples of Kuniyoshi’s work also reveal the artist’s dialogue with aspects of European pictorial traditions in his experimentation with shading and perspective. The selection of prints in Kuniyoshi: Japanese master of imagined worlds includes representative pieces of the highest quality, a number of which are illustrated for the first time outside Japan. Descriptive texts accompany the 136 prints in the publication and these are introduced by an in-depth discussion of Kuniyoshi’s life and his art.


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Volume 2 of Hotei Academic European Studies on Japan is a compilation of essays covering subjects relating to the artistic environment of the artists and the economic considerations of Japanese print production. The essays are extended versions of the lectures presented at the First International Conference on Ukiyo-e, organized by Hotei Publishing. Contributions by Chris Uhlenbeck, David Waterhouse, Roger Keyes, Shigeru Oikawa, Asano Shugo, Timothy Clark, John Carpenter, Timon Screech, Matthi Forrer, Ellis Tinios and Philip Meredith.
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The Hotei Encyclopedia of Japanese Woodblock Prints will serve as a source of quick reference as well as an in-depth study of all aspects of Japanese prints from the Edo (1600-1868) to Taishō (1912-26) periods.
The first section of The Hotei Encyclopedia is divided into four main subject areas: historical background, the art history of Ukiyo-e prints, print production (materials and techniques, the publishing trade) and the history of collecting Japanese prints, with a shorter fifth section on conservation. Each subject area contains a longer survey article which is accompanied by shorter essays that highlight specific topics pertaining to Japanese prints and their development.
The second section of the book comprises an extensive alphabetical listing of well over a 2000 carefully cross-referenced entries on individual print designers and schools, publishers, carvers, printers and collectors, major Kabuki actors, materials and techniques, conservation, subject-matter/iconography, literature and miscellaneous print-related terminology. This is followed by various appendices, including such aspects as seals of publishers and carvers, signatures, maps and chronological tables.
With this ambitious project Hotei Publishing hopes to fill the gap for an extensive reference work and introduction to Japanese prints, one that will prove a valuable resource for teachers and students, art collectors, librarians and interested lay-people alike.
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Yoshitoshi

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.
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The Female Image

20th Century Japanese Prints of Japanese Beauties.

Shinji Hamanaka and Amy Reigle Newland

The female image is a comprehensive survey of the genre of bijinga ('prints of beautiful women') produced in the Shin hanga tradition that evolved in the early 20th century. This bilingual (Japanese/English) publication is lavishly illustrated with works from Japanese, European and American public and private collections. Prints by major artists such as Hashiguchi Goyō (1880-1921), Torii Kotondo (1900-76) and Itō Shinsui (1898-1972) are included, as are examples from more obscure print designers which have rarely been reproduced.
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Crows, Cranes & Camellias

The Natural World of Ohara Koson 1877-1945

Amy Reigle Newland, Jan Perrée and Robert Schaap

The work of print artist Ohara Koson (1877-1945) mainly consists of prints of birds and flowers, characterised by their peaceful charm. This book about Koson is the first Western publication of his oeuvre of prints and paintings. It provides all known information on the artist's life and work, his teachers and publishers, facsimiles of his signatures and seals and illustrations of an estimated seventy-five percent of his total print output, now kept in the splendid collection of Japanese prints in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. First published in 2001, this new edition features an additional chapter on Koson’s oeuvre and designs which have been discovered since the original publication of Crows, Cranes and Camellias. This title is the definitive reference book for Koson collectors.
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Waves of renewal: modern Japanese prints, 1900 to 1960

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