Sebastian Izzard LLC Asian Art was honored to present Osaka Prints from the Collection of the Late Dr. Martin Levitz at 17 East 76th Street, New York. Born in Brooklyn in 1924, Dr. Levitz served as an airplane radio operator in China, Burma, and India during World War II, after which he studied medicine in Switzerland. He later became a renowned collector and scholar of Japanese woodblock prints.
His collection of over 500 prints, assembled over a period of several decades, is focused on the world of Kabuki and Bunraku (puppet theater) in Osaka in the first half of the nineteenth century. Osaka prints—a sub-genre of Japanese prints—are distinguished by the use of luxury pigments and the superb technical prowess of the artisans who executed the designs.
Many of the Levitz prints bear the seal of Kasuke, the most accomplished of Osaka engravers and printers. The exhibition featured a selection from the collection including several magnificent half-length portraits of actors and elaborately conceived surimono-style depictions of Kabuki stars in their leading roles.