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One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

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ISBN 10: 0807611433 / ISBN 13: 9780807611432
Published by George Braziller, Inc., New York, 2001
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From oddduckbooks (Silverdale, WA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

VG condition; top/bottom spine bent; spine slightly cocked; corners front/back board have slight "curve" (not bend); 1" "peel" noted on front jacket through "Edo"; three or four pages lower corners creased; jacket, edges of text block show some age/dust discoloration; jacket shows some shelving; bending noted top/bottom edges of jacket resulting in a 3" +/- closed tear top edge front (taped), 1/2" +/- closed tear bottom edge back/spine; jacket has been taped (2-1/2" tape) front/back flaps to front/back paste-downs with "tape stains" noted upper/lower front free endpaper; front free endpaper has several pencil-point sized markings near upper right corner; evidence of removed sticker noted upper right corner front free endpaper. 256 pages including bibliography. Bookseller Inventory # 003646

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Bibliographic Details

Title: One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Publisher: George Braziller, Inc., New York

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

About this title

Synopsis:

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, actually composed of 118 splendid woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art. The series, reproduced here in its entirety for the first time in a Western edition, contains many of Hiroshige's best-loved and most extraordinary prints. It is a celebration of the style and world of Japan's finest cultural flowering at the end of the shogunate.
Hiroshige, perhaps the most brilliant of the ukiyo-e printmakers, revealed the panorama of his city's activities with subtle and vivid visual anecdotes: fireworks seen from the river, fashionable geishas on parade, the kabuki district at night, intimate moments in the gardens and teahouses. But more than a historical document, the views are really vignettes presented from a remarkable variety of vantage points - aerial perspectives, multiple viewpoints, framed repoussoirs - and incorporate the natural beauty and atmospheric effects of every season: crisp autumn moonlight, cherry blossoms and irises in the spring, summer rain on the waterways, and temples in the winter snow. It is a tour de force of artistic vision and printmaking craftsmanship that epitomizes the inventiveness of ukiyo-e art.
The volume is printed in Japan and has been reproduced from an exceptionally fine, first-edition set in the Brooklyn Museum of Art to insure maximum fidelity to the original prints.

Review:

Besides being the catalog of a marvelous exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Hiroshige: One Hundred Famous Views of Edo is the definitive study of the last series of landscapes produced by the Japanese woodblock-print artist Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858). These designs of Edo, or modern Tokyo, are among the most familiar images of Japanese art in the world: copies were printed by the thousands until the wooden blocks wore out. The Brooklyn Museum's set is of the highest quality, early impressions with extraordinarily skilful and subtle use of printing techniques, especially color gradation. Each of the designs, which ultimately numbered 118, is shown in the book full-size with a long caption on the facing page. The author's descriptions, impeccably researched, take us on a guided tour of the old city. Many of the locations are shown at festival time and demonstrate the richness of daily life and customs in premodern Japan.

A notable feature of the series is its use of what we would now call cinematic effects: abrupt framing that cuts a figure in half, or extreme juxtapositions of near and distant elements. Examples include an "aerial" view of the environs of Edo dominated by a close-up image of an eagle, and a study of the Horikiri iris gardens in which sightseers are seen through stalks that seem only inches away. Such imaginative and daring effects must have startled contemporaries. Sudden Shower at Ohashi Bridge uses slashing lines to indicate rain--it was copied in oils by van Gogh, who, like several other impressionist painters including Monet, was the proud owner of many Japanese prints. Hiroshige is a beautifully produced book; with individual designs of the series costing tens of thousands of dollars; owning a copy is a consolation for not owning the prints themselves. --John Stevenson

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