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 18thand 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 heritage of printmaking experienced a renaissance both between the two World Wars and into the modern era. As a result, Japanese prints of all periods have been collected ever since Japan opened to the West in the mid-19th century and continues to resonate with collectors, artists and the viewing public today.