September 2017

Nineteenth Century Landscapes of Japan, Part II

Sebastian Izzard LLC Asian Art will focus again on the theme of the landscape in woodblock prints in their Asia Week exhibition on view from September 11 to 16 with works by Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849), Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858), and his foremost student Utagawa Hiroshige II (1826–1869).

Several first edition prints from Hiroshige’s Famous Views of the Sixty-odd Provinces (Rokujūyoshū meisho zue) series, which depicts special scenic locations in each of Japan’s sixty-eight historical domains, will highlight the exhibition. This series, created late in Hiroshige’s oeuvre, is notable for its vertical format which was unusual in the landscape genre at the time, the frequent application of bokashi, or gradation printing, in the sky, water, rocks, and mountains, and the extensive use of overprinting with expensive pigments and mica, lending depth and richness to the compositions. Additionally, the attractive wood grain pattern of the blocks can be seen in many of these prints. A very fine impression of Awa Province, Naruto Whirlpools (Awa, Naruto no fūha) exemplifies the best of these printing techniques.

Also on view will be a group of fine impressions from the One Hundred Views of Famous Places in the Various Provinces (Shokoku meisho hyakkei) series by Hiroshige II. This series was produced shortly after the death of Hiroshige I, between 1859 and 1861, and is considered to be Hiroshige II’s finest effort. Several of the most striking designs will be on display including Kiso Gorge in Snow, Shinshū (Shinano) Province (Shinshū Kiso no yuki), and Kintai Bridge at Iwakuni, Suō Province (Suō Iwakuni Kintai-bashi).

Rounding out the show will be rare impressions from Hiroshige’s Eight Views of Kanazawa (Kanazawa hakkei) and Sixty-nine Stations of the Kisokaidō (Kisokaidō rokujūkyū tsugi no uchi) series, along with fine examples from Hokusai’s Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei) and One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets Explained by the Nurse (Hyakunin isshu uba ga etoki) sets.