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Japanese Prints

artelino was founded in 2001 for the sale and promotion of Japanese art prints. Since then we have sold ca. 50,000 of them in more than a 1,400 online auctions. This page is a short introduction to Japanese prints.

Item # 68212 - Dressing Rooms in the New Theater - 2 triptics - Sold for $1,500 - 4/14/2016
The upper level is titled , "Odori Keiyo Gakuya no Zu". The scene of back stage. The lower level is titled, "Odori Keiyo Nikai iri no Zu". The new opening of the kabuki theater. A very interesting snapshot of the lively and busy opening day.
Exceptional and rare design featuring two triptychs laid out vertically, each titled separately. The hexaptych was illustrated and described in "Kunisada's World" No.92 by Sebastian Izzard. The other impressions are in the permanent collections of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Bigelow Coll.), Ferenc Hopp Museum in Budapest.

The artelino archive offers a database of more than 50,000 sold Japanese prints with detailed descriptions, large images and results. artelino clients with an active purchase history and authorized consignors of artelino have full access to our archive. Read the archive guide and test a trial version.
By Kunisada Utagawa 1786-1865

Japanese Prints from the Edo and Meiji Period

Japanese prints can be grouped by periods and art movements. Classic woodblock prints belong to the Edo period, which lasted until 1868. The early Edo period is also called the "Golden Age" (until early 19th century) with artists like Harunobu, Utamaro, Hokusai ("The Great Wave") or the enigmatic Sharaku. Leading artists of the Edo period from around 1810 until 1868 include Hiroshige, Kuniyoshi and Kunisada.

After the Edo period came the Meiji period, which lasted from 1868 to 1912. One characteristic that differs Meiji prints from Edo periods is the use of aniline colors. Beginners can recognize Meiji prints often by their brilliant and stark colors. Leading artists of the Meiji period include Yoshitoshi Taiso, Kunichika, Chikanobu.

Japanese Prints in the 20th Century

At the beginning of the 20th century Japanese printmaking split into two groups - the shin hanga ("new prints") and the sosaku hanga ("creative prints") movements. While the sosaku hanga artists adhered to the Western principle of "self-drawn, self-carved and self-printed" by the artist, the shin hanga movement was the attempt to modernize the old traditional concept of Japanese woodblock printmaking.

After World War II Japanese printmaking opened up and became more international. Although woodblock printmaking remained the major technique for Japanese artists, some Western printmaking methods like etching, lithography or silkscreen were adopted.

Many Western artists outside of Japan began to adopt the old, traditional way of making woodblock prints. This movement is termed moku hanga ("wood print").

Two Videos - Introduction to Japanese Prints

A few years ago we produced two videos. Some basics of Japanese prints for beginners.

Japanese Prints - Part I

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Japanese Prints - Part II

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Dieter WanczuraAuthor: Dieter Wanczura