Ukiyo-e: The Art of the Japanese Print

Tuttle Publishing
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The art of Japanese woodblock printing, known as ukiyo-e ("pictures of the floating world"), reflects the rich history and way of life in Japan hundreds of years ago. Ukiyo-e: The Art of the Japanese Print takes a thematic approach to this iconic Japanese art form, considering prints by subject matter: geisha and courtesans, kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers, erotica, nature, historical subjects and even images of foreigners in Japan.

An artist himself, author Frederick Harris—a well-known American collector who lived in Japan for 50 years—pays special attention to the methods and materials employed in Japanese printmaking. The book traces the evolution of ukiyo-e from its origins in metropolitan Edo (Tokyo) art culture as black and white illustrations, to delicate two-color prints and multicolored designs. Advice to admirers on how to collect, care for, view and buy Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints rounds out this book of charming, carefully selected prints.
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About the author

Frederick Harris is an artist who lived in Japan for over fifty years. He was introduced to the Japanese woodblock print by the well-known printmaker Martin Lewis, and after serving in the armed forces in Korea, he moved to Japan to establish an art studio.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Tuttle Publishing
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Published on
May 29, 2012
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Pages
192
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ISBN
9781462906147
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Language
English
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Genres
Art / Asian / Japanese
Art / History / Ancient & Classical
Art / Prints
Art / Techniques / Printmaking
History / Asia / Japan
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The Ephrussis were a grand banking family, as rich and respected as the Rothschilds, who "burned like a comet" in nineteenth-century Paris and Vienna society. Yet by the end of World War II, almost the only thing remaining of their vast empire was a collection of 264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them larger than a matchbox.

The renowned ceramicist Edmund de Waal became the fifth generation to inherit this small and exquisite collection of netsuke. Entranced by their beauty and mystery, he determined to trace the story of his family through the story of the collection.

The netsuke—drunken monks, almost-ripe plums, snarling tigers—were gathered by Charles Ephrussi at the height of the Parisian rage for all things Japanese. Charles had shunned the place set aside for him in the family business to make a study of art, and of beautiful living. An early supporter of the Impressionists, he appears, oddly formal in a top hat, in Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party. Marcel Proust studied Charles closely enough to use him as a model for the aesthete and lover Swann in Remembrance of Things Past.

Charles gave the carvings as a wedding gift to his cousin Viktor in Vienna; his children were allowed to play with one netsuke each while they watched their mother, the Baroness Emmy, dress for ball after ball. Her older daughter grew up to disdain fashionable society. Longing to write, she struck up a correspondence with Rilke, who encouraged her in her poetry.

The Anschluss changed their world beyond recognition. Ephrussi and his cosmopolitan family were imprisoned or scattered, and Hitler's theorist on the "Jewish question" appropriated their magnificent palace on the Ringstrasse. A library of priceless books and a collection of Old Master paintings were confiscated by the Nazis. But the netsuke were smuggled away by a loyal maid, Anna, and hidden in her straw mattress. Years after the war, she would find a way to return them to the family she'd served even in their exile.

In The Hare with Amber Eyes, Edmund de Waal unfolds the story of a remarkable family and a tumultuous century. Sweeping yet intimate, it is a highly original meditation on art, history, and family, as elegant and precise as the netsuke themselves.

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