Jasper52 spotlights Japanese woodblock prints, Dec. 8
NEW YORK – On Wednesday, December 8, starting at 8 pm Eastern time, Jasper52 will hold an auction of Japanese Woodblock Prints – 86 thoughtfully-chosen lots of images that show the stunning range of talent and mastery in this well-regarded (and well-collected) artistic arena. Represented in the lineup are works by Ikeda Eisen, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, Takahashi Hiroaki, Utagawa Kunisada II, Kiyoshi Saito, Tomikichiro Tokuriki, Taisei Hokuba, Tsuru-ya Kokei, Tomikichiro Tokuriki, Morikawa Sobun and many others. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Heading the highlights of the December 8 sale is Yoshiwara Pleasure Quarters – Bushu Garden, a January 1861 woodblock print by Utagawa Kunisada II. Active from 1844 to about 1874, he led the Utagawa School of the ukiyo-e style of Japanese art (the term translates as ‘pictures of the floating world.’) He was also one of three printmaking men to carry the name Utagawa Kunisada, learning the art from Kunisada I and later training Kunisada III. In this image, he depicts a scene from the Yoshiwara district, an area of the city of Edo (now Tokyo) set aside for courtesans. The triptych print is estimated at $800-$1,000.
A second entry of note is Travellers crossing the Sakawa Bridge at sunset, a circa 1930-1935 work by Takahashi Hiroaki, aka Shotei. The what-you-see-is-what-you-get style of title belies the fundamental beauty of the image, which depicts silhouetted figures moving across a bridge under a crescent moon. The 20th century print carries an estimate of $1,500-$2,000.
Completing the highlights is Looking relaxed: The appearance of a Kyoto geisha of the Kansei era, from Tsukioka Yoshitoshi’s renowned series Thirty-two Aspects of Customs and Manners. Dating to 1888, it depicts a young, well-dressed woman in joyful repose, gazing skyward. The vibrant, compelling work on paper reflects Yoshitoshi’s skills of observation and his sense of nuance as well as his firm command of the technical aspects of print-making. The first-edition print is estimated at $3,000-$3,500.
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