Saturday, 15 April 2017

Hiroshige’s woodblock, "The Garden of the Temple of Nippori”, 1857


Utagawa Hiroshige (歌川広重) (aka Ando Hiroshige [安藤広重]) (1797– 1858)
 “The Garden of the Temple of Nippori” (British Museum title: “No 14, Nippori ji-in no rinse
[日暮里寺院の林]), 1857, number 14 in the series “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo” (Meisho Edo Hyakkei [名所江戸百]) (1856–58)”, published by Uoya Eikichi

Colour woodblock print (early/original printing).
Size: Oban format (irregularly cut sheet): 36 x 23.5 cm
Inscribed (transliteration): Meisho Edo Hyakkei (series title); Hiroshige, Ando (signature); Snake 2 (date seal); No 14, Nippori ji-in no rinsen (title); Uo-Ei (publisher's seal); censor seal

Binyon 1916 401 (Laurence Binyon 1916, “A Catalogue of Japanese & Chinese Woodcuts Preserved in the Sub-Department of Oriental Prints and Drawings in the British Museum”, London, UK, BMP)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print (colour variant):

Condition: well-printed impression with strong colour. The sheet has wormholes, losses on the right side and border, old repairs to the lower-left corner and is laid onto a support sheet to stabilise the restorations.

I am selling this exceptionally beautiful and rare woodcut by one of the most famous of the landscape artists of the Ukiyoe school for AU$404 (currently US$306.10/EUR288.82/GBP244.66 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this woodcut that is from the same series that inspired the Impressionists such a Van Gogh who interpreted numbers 30 and 58 in oil studies, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold


I am amazed at the number of colour variations that there are in the printing of this image. For example, British Museum’s copy is like a celebration of yellow and yellow-green, another I found was biased to ochre whereas here the bias is to blue-green. This is fascinating to me as each colour changes how the landscape is perceived in terms of humidity and the time of day portrayed. In this impression I sense a pending storm as the cool blue bias leans to dark tones broken with patches of light.

Regarding which is the “right’ choice of colours, I would normally be guided to the way the title cartouche is treated: if there are gradations in the background colour (i.e. “bokashi”) then I would believe that this was the artist’s choice but none of the colour variants—including the BM’s impression—has the tell-tale attribute in the cartouche. What is certain is that this print is from the time of publication from the original woodblock and is not a reprint from recut plates.





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