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Yoshitoshi, two sides of the same medal

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There are literally two sides of Yoshitoshi as an artist . There is the dreamlike artist with a poetic flute player and on the other side there is the violent artist who depicts horror scenes.

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What is present in both these prints from the same artists is the beautiful technique of his prints. Mouvement, use of color and composition are all of the highest quality. I personally prefer Yoshitoshi’s art above all other Japanese print makers. Of course Utamaro has depicted the most beautiful women and Hokusai’s landscapes are beyond compare, but with Yoshitoshi his prints it is something special for me. There is mouvement and action in these prints and put these prints one after the other, a story emerges, just like a modern graphic novel. The RIJKSMUSEUM has published a great series on Japanese Prints and http://www.ftn-books.com has recently acquired the Volume V in the series totslly dedicated to Yoahitoshi and his fellow artists from that age… THE AGE OF YOSHITOSHI is an absolute must for his admirers.

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Harunobu ( 1724-1770) and Utamaro (1753-1806)

Both are Japanese print masters and there is only a time difference 30 years between these two great Japanese artists, but the difference between them is as large as  a classical painting by Sir Alma Tadema and a Modern painting by Soulages.

Where Harunobu’s craftmanship is rooted in the tradition of Japanese print making , i find Utamaro’s prints being far more inventive. His lines are clean and do remind me a little of the  outlines used by Herge and Joost Swarte. Classic scenes, actors and geisha’s and even shunga prints, all is mastered by this great Japanse artist. These prints were “In Vogue” by the impressionist artists and that is one of the reasons why so many of them can be found in Western Europe. Monet had them, van Gogh collected them and even made some paintings after them and the Rijksmuseum has thousands of them in their collection from which a selection is now and then on show. These shows are accompanied by some great bilangual catalogues of which the Harunobu and Utamaro ones are for sale at www.ftn.books.com