Re: illustrated book on ukiyo-e

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Posted by Philippe Callier on February 20, 1999 at 05:16:21:

In Reply to: illustrated book on ukiyo-e posted by Francois Cochin on February 18, 1999 at 19:51:15:


I am recycling some information found in earlier entries on this site:

The best "primer" on Japanese prints I can think of is the book by Richard Illing, "The Art of
Japanese Prints" 1980 (originally published by Octopus, London). It is a pleasure to handle and to
read: concise, very well presented , and full of attractive illustrations. The book gives a systematic
presentation of the different subject matters found in prints. A convenient feature is the sample of
artist signatures, all on one page, which helps greatly with the task of identifying the authors of the
prints you may have, if you do not read Japansese. Another page gives the censor seals that are
useful to date the original prints (of course, later copies usually reproduce the seal !).

The best general reference book on ukiyoe is probably Richard Lane's book "Images from the Floating World", 1978 (my edition is by Chartwell Books, Secaucus, New Jersey). The most useful feature of the book is the "dictionary of ukiyoe", which takes about one half of the entire work, and which lists a large number of artists of the ukiyoe period (the book does not deal with modern prints).

A third excellent book, with a lot of very good illustrations, is a collection of essays by several authors titled "Ukiyo-e to Shin Hanga: The Art of Japanese WoodblockPrints", published by Mallard Press, in 1990. As the title suggests, it covers not only the tradiutional era of ukiyoe, but also the work of XXth century artists.

As for the quality of the reproductions, my favorite books are Willy Boller, "Masterpieces of the Japanese Color Woodcut", Boston Bookand Art Shop, 1957; and the very beautiful four books published by the Grabhorn Press for the Book Club of California in 1959, 1960, 1962 and 1965 (all reproductions in the Grabhorn series are large scale and in full color collotypes - unfortunately, the series was limited to 400 or 450 copies, so it is rather rare).

Sincerely, Philippe Callier

: Hi,

: I would like to be given references regarding the
: "best" illustrated book on ukiyo-e
: (best ...)

: Thanks.

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