Selections from the Haggin Print Collection: Japanese Woodblock Prints
Aug 9, 2009 - Sep 20, 2009
Highlights of The Haggin Museum's own print collection are on display Aug. 9 to Sept. 20, with an exhibition of more than 50 Japanese woodblock prints selected by guest curator Dr. John A. Listopad.
Dr. Listopad received his Ph.D in art history from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and has recently taught a number of art classes at CSU Sacramento. Prior to teaching full time, he was the curator responsible for Southeast Asian and Himalayan art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and curator of Asian art at the Stanford University Museum and lecturer in the Stanford University art department.
Dr. Listopad has selected prints, known as ukiyo-e or “pictures of the floating world,” that showcase noted artists such as Hiroshige, Kunisada, Kuniyoshi, Toyokuni and Utamaro.
Traditionally, woodblock prints have been a popular art form for the masses, illustrating stories of lovers and courtesans from the pleasure quarters, popular kabuki theatre actors and their roles, great heroes in battle, parodies of classical literature and history, as well as landscapes depicting famous places and views.
The Japanese prints in this exhibition belong to three distinct periods and all are hand printed from intricately carved wooden blocks.
The earliest Japanese prints in this exhibition were designed and printed around 1700 in the old capital city of Kyoto. The vast majority of the prints are in an elaborate multi-colored style called “brocade prints” that might use as many as 15 fine-grained cherry wood blocks and multiple impressions from each block, a technique that began to be used around 1765. The third period represented in this exhibition is the “Shin-Hanga” or “New Print" woodblock print revival that was championed by the publisher Watanabe Shozaburo beginning in the early 1920s.
Scenes of everyday life in the ukiyo-e were regarded with disdain by the upper classes, but were immensely popular with the general public. These popular prints also influenced the artwork of some of western art’s more prolific artists, such as Manet, Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, Gauguin and Matisse.
Dr. Listopad will explore this influence between the artwork of the Japanese woodblock print artists and that of Henry Matisse (whose prints are on display concurrently in the Lower West Gallery). To hear Dr. Listopad speak in person, don’t miss the Gallery Talk on Thursday, August 20, 7:00 p.m.