japonisme: looking at it from the other direction....

10 March 2007

looking at it from the other direction....

how do you see these woodblock prints, particularly when compared with the others i've posted (and i have posted the work of this artist before), or that you've seen elsewhere?

does it make any difference when you read this?: "Mitsukoshi Gonomi; Miyako no Nishiki" (Brocades of the Capital). "The Seasons and Their Fashions,No.8: Autumn. "A Walk to a Country-cottage". This series of 12 designs was commissioned by Mitsui Clothing Store. The Mitsui group (It has two well-known subsidiaries today. Mitsukoshi department store and Mitsui-Sumitomo Bank) was originated from the large dry goods store, Echigoya founded in 1673. It changed its name to "Mitsui Gofuku" in 1893. In order to promote its new image, they commissioned this delightful 12 family portraits to Toshikata. Mitsui Clothing Store changed its name again to "Mitsukoshi" in 1904. They made another edition, this time under the name "Mitsukoshi". The edition by "Mitsukoshi" was featured in the reference book of the Muller Collection.1

it's not an original question, i know, but i'll ask it anyway-- is art made for hire by a department store or bicycle manufacturer, less art than what's made for a samurai or king, or from one's heart?

the whole series is here.

i just realized what the question also is: do the japonese see these woodblock prints differently, knowing they were commissioned for trade?

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Blogger Florence Forrest said...

Woodblock prints were always made for trade in one sense. they were a cheep comoditiy for city dwellers with a bit of spare cash. The fashion aspect has always been one of the most important parts too. also, from references I've read it is not uncommon for Japanese department stores to stage exhibtions and promote the arts.

I think the Japanese poetic sensiblity always manages to remain, with great individual artists standing out over time.


14 March, 2007 07:32  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

interesting points as always florence. thanks

14 March, 2007 13:33  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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