Japanese Prints: Ancient and Modern - Gallery East
Floor talk by David Forrest CBE, Gallery East Director 2pm Saturday 11 June 2022
The long and rich heritage of printmaking in Japan is well suited to the Japanese temperament which prizes excellence, precise craftsmanship, respect for materials, artistic sensitivity and an eye for composition, balance and colour.
Japanese woodblock prints of the 18th and 19th Centuries record an exotic, vibrant, colourful and highly sophisticated society in a form which constitutes a significant element in the history of world graphic art. The imagery takes the viewer into a world of Kabuki plays and actors, courtesans and beautiful women, heroes of legend, historical battles, the Japanese landscape, and erotica. Moreover, their design and the highly skilled colour woodblock printing technique had an extraordinary and lasting influence on Western art and graphic design.
This long and rich heritage of printmaking experienced a renaissance both between the World Wars and into the modern era.
This exhibition includes bird and flower prints by Ohara Koson and Rakusan Rakusan, supreme exponents of this genre. Japanese prints of all periods have been collected ever since Japan opened to the West in the mid-19th Century and continue to resonate with collectors, artists and the viewing public today.