JAPANESE PRINTS

A MILLION QUESTIONS

TWO MILLION MYSTERIES

 

Ukiyo-e Prints

浮世絵版画

Port Townsend, Washington

 

UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI

国芳

うたがわくによし

1797-1861

Series (untitled): Six Crystal Rivers

Subject: Chidori River in Mutsu Province

Date: 1847-50

Censors: Mera (Mera Taichirō) & Murata (Murata Hiemon)

米良

村田

めら

むらた

Signed:

Publisher: Sano-ya Kihei

版元: 佐野屋喜兵衛

はんもと: さのや.きへえ

Illustrated:

1. The center panel on-line from the collection of

the Museum für angewandte Kunst in Vienna

2. There is another copy of the full triptych shown

on-line in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

3. There is also a copy of this triptych in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

SOLD!

 

     
   
     

 

 

 

MONET & VAN GOGH

 

Anyone who has visited Giverny --- and many who haven't --- know that Monet was a collector and lover of Japanese prints. His attachment to the Japanese esthetic is reflected in many of his paintings and physical surroundings. Even today some of these prints are displayed in his home there including a copy of the right-hand panel seen on this page. (1)

 

Similarly Van Gogh and this brother Theo also had a passion for ukiyo-e. Although we can't be sure that Vincent Van Gogh was the particular owner of a badly toned copy of the middle panel we don't know that he wasn't. According to Ronald de Leeuw, the director of the Van Gogh Museum "The collection of 474 Japanese prints in the...museum is for the most part owned by the Vincent Van Gogh Foundation and hails from the joint estate of Vincent and Theo Van Gogh. Theo's son, Ir Dr Vincent Willem van Gogh (1890-1978), later expanded the collection somewhat. It is no longer possible to find out exactly which prints were added by him to the group." (2)

 

However, assuming that Van Gogh himself did own a copy of the central panel of this triptych then  he and Monet, two of the greatest figures in the Western pantheon of art, saw the same incredible beauty of these figures that this writer sees. Degas also owned Japanese prints, but I have no idea which ones. Perhaps he owned one of the left-hand panel. Wouldn't that be interesting.

 

Now is your chance to own the whole shebang --- something which eluded Van Gogh and Monet.

 

1. La Collection d'Estampes Japonaises de Claude Monet à Giverny, by Geneviève Aitken and Marianne Delafond, La Bibliotheque des Arts, Paris, n.d., cat. #106, pp. 104-5.

2. Catalogue of the Van Gogh Museum's Collection of Japanese Prints, by Charlotte van Rappard-Boon, Willem van Gulik and Keiko van Bremen-Ito, Waanders Publishers, Zwolle, 1991, p. 8 & cat. #345, p. 245.

 

 

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