Heritage offers plum Utagawa Hiroshige print in March 21 sale
DALLAS — Heritage Auctions will offer Utagawa Hiroshige’s 1857 woodblock print The Plum Garden at Kameido in its Tuesday, March 21 Fine & Decorative Asian Art Signature® Auction. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
The work, which carries an estimate of $5,000-$7,000, was the 30th image in Hiroshige’s renowned series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo. The gorgeous and balanced composition, lyrical in its muted color palette and masterful symbiosis of foreground and background, relaxed perspective, and fine detail depicts plum trees in bloom against a carnelian sky, with people milling about in the distance.
Keen-eyed art historians have long understood the enormous influence Eastern art has had on our most beloved modern European and American artists. By the mid-to-late 1800s, Japanese prints took the West by storm (Japan’s ports opened to the West in the 1850s), and the elegantly controlled and colorful works visibly inspired Degas, Cassatt, Toulouse-Lautrec, Monet and Gauguin – not to mention Vincent van Gogh, who moved to Paris in 1886, less than 20 years after the World’s Fair in Paris. That major event bathed the region’s artists in the aesthetics and vernacular of Eastern art, most notably at the time Japanese woodcuts and the works of ukiyo-e printmakers. (The burgeoning influence of Japanese aesthetics in Europe was called Japonisme). Van Gogh adored Japanese woodcuts and decorated his studio walls with them. One of the most beloved paintings of his own output, Flowering Plum Orchard: After Hiroshige from 1887, is a direct homage to a print by the master Japanese printmaker Utagawa Hiroshige. Many art lovers are as familiar with Van Gogh’s faithful recreation of the image (as well as his artistic-license tweaks) as they are with Hiroshige’s original.
“This is just one of the excellent prints in this event that also includes an impressive selection of Chinese ceramics, jade carvings, archaic bronzes, cloisonne enamel works of art, superb Chinese paintings, textiles and more,” said Heritage Auctions’ Consignment Director of Asian Art Moyun Niu. “Besides Hiroshige’s Plum Garden print, the auction boasts 21 other woodblocks by Japanese print masters, including other works from the Edo series.”
The bronzes in this auction span the East, and a Tibetan gilt bronze Mahasiddha figure, estimated at $60,000-$80,000, and also a Tibetan gilt bronze Bodhisattva are especially charismatic.
But speaking of charm, an out-of-the-ordinary Japanese patinated and silvered bronze Okimono model of a cockerel by Hideyoshi Seizo of the Meiji Period (late 19th century), estimated at $3,000-$5,000, is hard to beat: at two feet high, he struts with confidence and watchful golden eyes. His detailing is beautifully articulated – feathers, comb, talons and beak all spring to life.
The Chinese jade in this auction is notable, and includes a Qing dynasty group of three carved plaques from a Ruyi scepter, estimated at $1,500-$2,500. Their polished cream flora and fauna details against milky backgrounds are exquisite.
And one of the true showstoppers of this auction is a Chinese black-ground Taoist priest robe from the Qing dynasty, estimated at $10,000-$20,000. Its stunningly elaborate and delicate embroidery spans a magnificent field of gold, and it is but one of handful of Chinese textile beauties Heritage will offer on March 21.
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