Hiroshige: One Hundred Famous Views of Edo Hardcover – 1 Jan 1999
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"Henry Smith skillfully and sensitively describes the images... and offers rewarding insights on the interchange between the larger tradition of the Japanese woodblock and Hiroshige's singular creative talent" Art in America
About the Author
Henry D. Smith II is professor of Japanes history at Columbia University, New York. He is the author of Hokusai: One Hundred Famous Views of Mt. Fuji.
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As for the format, it is among the very few books on Japanese woodblock prints, even those devoted to a particular series, that reproduce every single print in a series in full original size, each on its own page with a very full discussion on the page opposite. This is perfect. I have quite a few books on Japanese prints, and most give only the highlights treatment , so you don't see the full scope of the artist's vision. And they are usually reduced in size, or just shown in a detail, which gives no idea of the power or impact of the original design. These prints lose a lot when not shown in full size; somehow they are trivialized in miniature versions, and don't impress themselves on the viewer in the same way. In this book even the margins are shown, down to a few uneven edges. Somehow I don't feel I've really seen a woodblock print unless I can see the margins, which is why it is kind of frustrating to see them conventionally framed or cropped. The prints here are mostly first edition, all from one collection and one album, so the condition is very consistent, and very good, with crisp lines, precise details and vivid colors. A fabulous book!
A large-format hardback in dustcover, 256 pp, 4 1/2 pounds. The images have not been cropped. This is the first time the complete series of prints has been published in the West. There's an introduction, a preface, a bibliography. On heavy stock.
However, the prints are, as they should be, the star of the show. Reproduced from a fine, first edition set of the prints, they are laid out in an impressive manner -- one magnificent print on every two pages, accompanied by wonderful commentary by Henry D. Smith II.
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