Exhibition “Japanese Prints: Utagawa Hiroshige – The Vertical Series” At Los Angeles County Museum of Art, March 4 – June 29

LACMA Hiroshige Mt Haruna

Utagawa Hiroshige (Japan, 1797-1858). Snow on Mt. Haruna in Kōzuke Province 8th month, 1853. Color woodblock print. Image: 13 15/16 x 9 1/2 in. © LACMA

Pavilion for Japanese Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Museum hours: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 12 noon – 8 pm, Friday 12 noon – 9 pm, Saturday and Sunday 11 am – 8 pm. Closed Wednesdays. For further information about Japanese art exhibitions at LACMA,  call (323) 857-6565

Cultural News, 2010 March Issue

Japanese Prints: Utagawa Hiroshige – The Vertical Series

From March 4 through June 29

Toward the end of his life, Hiroshige created several series of prints in a vertical format. Most influential were the series “100 Famous Views of Edo” (1856-1858), concerning the capital now called Tokyo, and “Famous Views of the Sixty-odd Provinces.”

The former included unique points of view that appeared to have been spontaneously captured, as if seen through the lens of a camera. People, animals and objects were caught either casually wandering through the frame or in extreme close-up, beyond which a more distant landscape was revealed. French impressionist artists, particularly Edgar Degas (1834-1917), were directly inspired by the cropping of these compositions.

The “Famous Views of Sixty-odd Provinces” (1853-1856), was comprised of landscape prints drawn initially from illustrations in popular travel guides. These vertical formats occasioned experimentation with coloring and printing techniques.

Hiroshige and his printer added interest to open expanses of sky and water, with exposed wood graining, gradations of color across both open areas of space and terrestrial features, added coloration along the edges of land forms for emphasis, and overall sprinkling with a fine coating of mica.

This installation of thirty-four prints includes a number of recent donations and several promised gifts from a local private collection.