This site is in-process and is being made public with roughly 90% of the collection on-line.
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Children painting Hotei’s belly to look like a giant mochi cake. Hotei, one of the seven gods of good luck, is the Japanese god of happiness, for in his huge sack he carries toys and treasures for the flocks of children who swarm around him everywhere. He is very tolerant and allows the boisterous bevy many liberties, while pondering sleepily and not too seriously on the deterioration of today’s morals. Here, after having received paint and paintbrush, a mischievous youngster is trying out his artistic talents on Hotei’s immense hairy stomach to the joy of the others who are accompanying his efforts with jumping, laughter, and brandishing toys. A plum blossom and a pine needle adorn the patient Hotei’s grotesque belly, which is being blown up through a natural channel, to put it euphemistically, by a daring juvenile delinquent with a long bamboo pipe.
[Source: Playthings and Pastimes in Japanese Prints, Lea Baten, Weatherhill, 1995, p. 110-112]
And we wouldn’t be able to study Japanese art, it seems to me, without becoming much happier and more cheerful, and it makes us return to nature, despite our education and our work in a world of convention.
- Vincent van Gogh in a letter to Theo van Gogh;
Arles, Sunday, 23 or Monday, 24 September 1888
collection of over one thousand Japanese prints, spanning approximately one hundred years from the Meiji era (1868-1912) through the 1970s. The prints fall into three
genres, ukiyo-e (prints of the floating world), shin hanga (new
prints), and sōsaku hanga (creative prints). (Find out more about these genres in the article A Very Brief Introduction to Ukiyo-e, Shin Hanga and Sōsaku Hanga.)
One of the wonderful things about collecting Japanese woodblock prints is the availability of countless thousands of designs created by hundreds, if not thousands, of talented artists. Each print has a bit of story to go with it, which I have tried to ferret out and record in these pages and, of course, each artist also has a story, which I have also tried to portray (within the limits of my non-Japanese reading/speaking ability.) As I discover, or you tell me about, more information on the artists and prints, I’ll add it.
Sometimes, I think that I am running a “print pound” or “emergency room” for prints, taking in prints in poor condition and at least stabilizing them and preventing further damage. I do treat each print with respect, for the artist and the object. For years I have assaulted friends and acquaintances with print showings. Everyone is always polite, despite my tendency to go on and on, as I am enthusiastic about Japanese prints.
I started collecting after seeing the 1998 exhibition at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco of Hiroshige and Hokusai prints drawn from the James A. Michener Collection, Honolulu Academy of Arts.1 In the Museum’s gift shop were a number of shrink-wrapped Japanese prints, both reprints and originals of ukiyo-e works and shin hanga landscapes. While I did not purchase a print at the show, seeing that the print prices were within my budget did lead me to Frank Castle’s gallery Castle Fine Arts, Inc. in San Francisco and the purchase of my first print Snow at Hi Marsh, Mito by the artist Kawase Hasui (1883-1957). Fifteen years and 1000 plus prints later I am as excited by the prospect of adding a new print to my collection as I was on that trip to San Francisco to purchase my first print.
History and Legends
|Congratulations on Maritime
Security for All Eternity, 1863
Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889)
IHL Cat. #212
Mirror of Our Country’s Revered Deities and Esteemed Emperors, 1878
Yōshū Chikanobu (1838-1912)
IHL Cat. #455
Scenic Beauty and Famous Places
Inside Asakusa Kannon
Eisho Narazaki (1864-1936)
IHL Cat. #230
IHL Cat. #35
Kasamatsu Shiro (1898–1991)
IHL cat #37
Abstract and Modern
Yoshida Masaji (1917–1971)
IHL Cat. #148
Takahashi Rikio (1917-1999)
IHL Cat. #424
Flying angel No. 3, 1970
Hagiwara Hideo (1913 - 2007)
IHL Cat. #318
People of the Snow Country, 1978
Takagi Shiro (1934-1998)
IHL Cat. #639
Impression of a Violinist, 1947
(Portrait Of Suwa Nejiko)
Onchi Koshiro (1891-1955)
IHL Cat. #116
IHL Cat. #202
Excellent: The color is not faded. Well cut lines with registration good in all color blocks. The inking is even, unbroken, not blurred, with no build-up of ink at edges of color areas. The paper is intact with little or no damage. No discoloration of paper is evident.
Good: The color is relatively unfaded. Basically well-cut with only minor flaws in registration and inking. Little or minor physical damage to the paper. Only very minor discoloration of paper is evident.
Fair: Color somewhat faded. General overall flaws in inking and registration, or unsightly localized flaws such as smudges or lines blurred together, and possible flaws in block cutting and wear from extensive printing. More than minor physical damage such as losses, stains, folds and abrasions. Discoloration of paper evident.
Poor: Color considerably faded. Overall sloppy registration and printing, with obvious wear in the block. Major and unsightly damages to the paper. Significant discoloration to the paper.
Thumbnail images of prints in the collection appear at the top of the page for each artist. Clicking on the thumbnail will take you to the page containing details of that print. Clicking on the image of the print will allow you to see an enlarged and detailed view of the print. Prints embedded in the explanatory text for an artist are, generally, not prints in the collection.
There are two indices for this site - one lists all the artists in alphabetical order (last name first) and the other is a visual index of the prints in the collection arranged by artist. You can reach these indices by clicking on their icons that appear at the bottom of each page.
The following three icons also appear on the bottom of each page as an aid to site navigation.
If you'd like to discuss any aspect of the site email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I'll do my best to get back to you.
Thanks for looking!