japonisme: 10/30/11 - 11/6/11

01 November 2011

returning to the source

there's a lot of talk on the print blogs about treasure found or envied on ebay and elsewhere. most of these fall into the general category i call japonisme, ie. drawn from the styles and methods of the newly found japanese prints that had made their way to the west.

what may sometimes be forgotten is that one may find treasures on ebay or elsewhere that is less the derivative and more the original. (by the way, the beak on the egret is color-added by me.)

now of course, these distinctions become hopelessly tangled when we talk about the era around 1900, give or take 20 years, when these were made. unquestionably, the influence had been felt in both directions. though to my eyes, it's easy to tell which is western and which is japanesse.

in any case, these can be a delight on their own standing. now, i've "prettified" them, and hope i haven't made them much worse, but i was only trying to compensate for the difficulties involved in photographing an item to list and not for any deficiencies in the art itself.

it's just amazing to me what's available for so little; treasures indeed. looking at the monkeys, the bunnies, the birds, from both cultures it can be very interesting to notice the differences and the similarities.

while there are numerous japanese print shops that offer these illustrated books, on ebay i've found only one. this seller, who goes by 'utagawa123,' offers a tremendous amount of these beautiful books, which seem to be in wonderful condition, and whose prices all start at $9.99

the prices do get bid up sometimes, but i found only 3 that had gone over the neighborhood of $300, and some end up selling for much less. all but one of the images here are from her ebay stock. the one is the top right, that gorgeous swan. it comes from Morra Japanese Art, who also offers many wonderful ehon, books.

of course, if you're like me, more inclined to look and learn than to collect, there are always the MFA in Boston, and the NYC Public Library Digital Collection. there are millions of other places -- enjoy finding them on your own!

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