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Japan’s natural beauty

Japan’s natural beauty present in Jasper52 prints sale Sept. 4

Japan’s natural beauty
‘Wisteria Maiden Fujimusume,’ Kitano Tsunetomi, 19½in. x 14½in. Estimate: $1,500-$2,000. Jasper52 image

NEW YORK – The natural beauty of Japan is realized in an online auction of original woodblock prints to be conducted by Jasper52 on Wednesday, Sept. 4. Subjects range from scenic landscapes to lovely women. The 77 prints in the sale span the 19th century to modern. Bid absentee or live online exclusively through LiveAuctioneers.

A representative example from the latter period is titled Wisteria Maiden Fujimusume (above) by Kitano Tsunetomi (1880-1947). The close-up portrait of a woman dancer was published in 1959. Tsunetomi’s style is unique and stands out favorably against such renowned masters of bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women) as Goyo and Shinsui. Because Tsunetomi designed few woodblock prints, his works in this medium are considered scarce (est. $1,500-$2,000).

A classic beauty is Utagawa Kunisada’s (1786-1865) first edition print of a woman holding a basket (below) from his “Three Graceful Celestial Bodies” (sun, moon and stars) series published in 1853. The print title reads “Gathering fresh herbs on the first day of the new rat year.”

Japan’s natural beauty
‘Beauty holding a basket,’ Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865), uncut fan print, original first edition published in 1853, 9in. x 11½in. Estimate: $2,500-$3,000. Jasper52 image

Mount Fuji seen from Kanaya is a famous scene designed by woodblock print master Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) from his series “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji.” The same title offered in the Jasper52 auction is a 20th century impression from recarved blocks and published by Eijudo.

Japan’s natural beauty
‘Mount Fuji seen from Kanaya,’ Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), a 20th century impression from recarved blocks, 10in. x 15in. Estimate: $300-$350. Jasper52 image

A rare scene of fishing boats at sunset is by Ohara Koson (1877-1945), an artist mainly known for his kacho-e (birds and flowers) prints. This atmospheric picture was published circa 1920.

Japan’s natural beauty
‘Fishing boats at sunset,’ Ohara Koson, circa 1920, 8¼in. x 10in. Estimate: $2,500-$3,000. Jasper52 image

One of Kyoto’s most famous attractions is the Kinkakuji Temple, which was built in 1397 as a residence for shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. The structure was  covered in gold leaf, earning it the name Golden Pavilion. It is the subject of a fine woodblock print signed “Koitsu” and published by Doi in the 1930s.

Japan’s natural beauty
‘Kyoto Kinkakuji Temple,’ by Koitsu, 1930s, 9.8 x 14.7 cm. Estimate: $120-$150. Jasper52 image

The Jasper52 woodblock print auction will be conducted Wednesday, Sept. 4, beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

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