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Katsushika Hokusai

Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), In the Well of the Great Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa-oki nami-ura) Series: Fugaku sanjûrokkei (Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji) (1830-1833), polychrome woodblock print on paper [Seattle Asian Art Museum, Seattle WA, Apr 1-Jul 4]

Fleeting Beauty: Japanese Woodblock Prints

Seattle Asian Art Museum
Seattle WA – Apr 1-Jul 4, 2010

Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806), Bamboo blind

Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806), Bamboo blind (Sudare) (1790s), Ukiyo-e, o-ban sheet: polychrome woodblock print on paper [Seattle Asian Art Museum, Seattle WA, Apr 1-Jul 4]

Utagawa Hiroshige

Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), Plum Garden, Kameido (Kameido ume yashiki) Series: Meisho Edo hyakkei (One Hundred Views of Famous Places in Edo) (1856-1858), Ukiyo-e, o-ban sheet: polychrome woodblock print on paper [Seattle Asian Art Museum, Seattle WA, Apr 1-Jul 4]

Fleeting Beauty: Japanese Woodblock Prints is a significant collection of over 60 traditional Japanese woodblock prints from the 18th and 19th centuries. It represents some of Japan's most renowned artists of ukiyo-e, or “pictures of the floating world.” This genre of printmaking depicts the vibrant urban culture of the city of Edo, Japan (now Tokyo), which grew to be one of the largest cities in the world during this era. Produced for the mass populace, these graphic and stylized works often functioned as playbills for popular entertainment, to advertise the newest styles, or to show actors of the kabuki theatre.

The ukiyo-e are dramatic and compelling compositions representing transient moments, fleeting pleasures and ephemeral fantasies of the Edo period. Most of these elegant works tell their stories through fluid, linear, hand-coloured compositions. Female subjects are captured in dramatic poses, wearing elaborate hairstyles and flowing, patterned kimonos.

The earliest examples in this collection are sensual black and white pieces depicting courtesans with clients. Kitagawa Utamaro's graceful renditions of the charming and alluring beauties are some of the most notable in the exhibit. The landscape-based works of Katsushika Hokusai and Utagawa Hiroshige show new atmospheric approaches to rendering perspective in both rural and urban scenes. The exhibit also includes many Hiroshige landscape prints based on travels along the road from Edo to Kyoto, including the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo and The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido.

Allyn Cantor

























Kitagawa Utamaro

Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806), Courtesan seated smoking with an adolescent client (1799), Ukiyo-e, o-ban sheet: polychrome woodblock print on paper [Seattle Asian Art Museum, Seattle WA, Apr 1-Jul 4]

Allyn Cantor


 Tue, Apr 6, 2010