19th/20th century Japanese woodblock prints up for bid Jan. 2

Japanese woodblock prints

Yoshitsuya Utagawa woodblock print, Yorimitsu & Hakamadare, 1858, est. $1,500-$2,000

NEW YORK – The appreciation for Japanese woodblock prints goes far beyond the Land of the Rising Sun. The elegance and high standard of artistry had a profound effect on the development of modern art. That’s why you’ll find Japanese woodblock prints by such masters as Hokusai and Hiroshige in many of the world’s finest private and institutional collections.

Many experts believe prices will soar over the next several years as those who are just discovering the unique beauty of these superb Japanese prints enter the marketplace and buy their first examples. Jasper52 has developed a reputation as an outstanding source for authentic, high-quality prints with a price point to please all collectors, from those on a budget to connoisseurs in search of the truly rare, early works.

Jasper52’s January 2 auction, with absentee or live online bidding through LiveAuctioneers, features 130 lots by premier Japanese printmakers. Whether depicting mythical beasts or capturing the serenity of a temple or moonlit ocean, the prints to be auctioned are fascinating reflections of Japan’s culture and a testament to its enviable tradition of printmaking.

Let’s look at a few of the highlights, starting with Hasui Kawase’s (1883-1957) Snow at Ueno Toshogu Shrine. Originally published by Kawaguchi & Sakai in 1929, this is one of 16 Hasui prints made from blocks acquired around 1950 by Shoshiba. The Shoshiba editions are now sold out with no plans to reprint. The print shown below is estimated at $600-$750.

Japanese woodblock prints

Hasui Kawase woodblock print, Snow at Ueno Toshogu Shrine, original date of publication 1929, printed from blocks acquired from Kawaguchi & Sakai around 1950, est. $600-$750

There is a sense of tranquility to Hiroshi Yoshida’s Willow and Stone Bridge, printed in 1926. The example shown below is a first edition with a reddish-brown Jizuri seal. Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950) is regarded as one of the greatest artists of the shin-hanga style movement, which was influenced by European impressionism. His landscapes are especially revered among collectors.

Japanese woodblock prints

Hroshi Yoshia first edition woodblock print, Willow and Stone Bridge, 1926, est. $1,200-$1,500

Animals are often seen in Japanese woodblock prints, as is the case in Ohara Koson’s (1877-1945) Carp Leaping Up a Waterfall. Published by Watanabe Shozaburo in 1935 (per Blair; print not dated), it was obtained from Robert O. Muller’s estate (via dealer) following Muller’s death. It is expected to reach a top bid of $1,300-$1,500.

Japanese woodblock prints

Ohara Koson woodblock print, Carp Leaping Up a Waterfall, undated but published 1935 per Blair, est. $1,300-$1,500

A wonderful woodblock triptych by Yoshitsuya Utagawa titled Yorimitsu Tries to Capture Hakamadare by Destroying His Magic was published by Tsutaya Kichizo in 1858. A premium lot, shown at the top of this page, it carries a pre-sale estimate of $1,500-$2,000.

There are many other exceptional works in Jasper52’s January 2 Fine Woodblock Prints Auction. Now is the time to explore the fully curated online catalog and acquire high-quality examples from a source you can trust.