Articles and resources covering topics ranging from print authentication & valuation, to specific insights on artists, as well as trends in the marketplace.

Best Practices: Caring for Japanese Prints

by: Lia Robinson

Japanese prints masterpieces remain an accessible and rewarding medium for beginner and seasoned collectors alike. However, like other works on paper, prints are susceptible to damage from a range of factors. Proper care and conservation of your collection will ensure your ability to enjoy the works  for years to come! Koller Asian Art’s general guidelines are meant to provide you with a foundation to maintain best practices while caring for your collection. Remember, always seek out a professional conservator or restorer specializing in Japanese prints if your notice changes or damage to your artwork.

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi: Meiji Master

by: Lia Robinson

“When you look at [a] print by Yoshitoshi… for a moment that era: that era which you couldn’t tell if it was Edo or Meiji, an era in which night and day seemed to have merged and become one...doesn’t it appear before your eyes so vivid in an instant?”- Akutagawa Ryūnosuke, “The Good Man of the Enlightenment,”1919 (trans. Chelsea Foxwell)

Abstraction in Postwar Japanese Printmaking

by: Lia Robinson

In 1951, printmakers Kiyoshi Saitō 斉藤清 (1907–1997) and Tetsurō Komai 駒井哲郎(1920-1976) were awarded top prizes at the Sao Paolo Biennale, gaining instant recognition for Japanese prints in the increasingly global art world. Their success, unmatched by painters and sculptors at the same biennale, represented a flourishing of Japanese printmaking from the 1950s to the 1970s. The resurgence of creative printmaking in postwar Japan was characterized by innovative, abstract styles and themes that engaged with the rapid transformations of the era. Promoted by artists around the world as the common language of modern art, abstraction was thought to espouse international humanism, individualism, and liberalism following the traumatic experiences under the totalitarian regimes of World War II. This trend toward self-expression and barrier-breaking in the arts ushered in an unprecedented age of experimentation reinforced by transnational networks of avant-garde artists in Japan, Europe and America.

Koshiro Onchis Influence on the Sosaku-Hanga, Creative Print Movement

by: Caroline Moore

“Art is not something that can be grasped by the mind, it is understood by the heart. If one goes back to its origin, painting expresses the heart in color and form, and it must not be limited to the world of reflected forms captured by sight.” - Kōshirō Onchi on the process and philosophy of the sōsaku-hanga (“creative print”) movement.

The Influence of Japonisme in the West: from its Inception to Today

by: Caroline Moore

Japanese culture including fine art, food, fashion, and customs has been adopted and popularized by the Western world now for over a century. Today, Japanese culture influences our daily lives as a result of globalization and its rapid integration in the West over time. A rise in the collection of Japanese art, specifically ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) and sōsaku-hanga (“creative”) prints, mirrors the growing interest in traditional Japanese art as the inspiration that laid the groundwork for Japonisme, which shaped the West’s contemporary society. 

Hiroshi Yoshida and his Early Access to the Western World

by: Caroline Moore

Hiroshi Yoshida (吉田 博, Japan, 1876-1950) was a prolific Japanese printmaker who broke through the cultural barriers that separated the Eastern and Western worlds. He became one of the first established Asian artists to show extensively in the West and contribute to the artistic milieu of the 20th century. Hiroshi trained as a shin-hanga (“new print”) artist during his early years, learning Western-style techniques of rendering light, color, and atmospheric depth. He also abided by depicting traditional Japanese themes of landscapes (fukei-ga), famous places (meishō), beautiful women (bijin-ga), kabuki actors (yakusha-e), and birds-and-flowers (kachō-e). However, Hiroshi never imitated Occidental art or methods of creating it. Instead, the artist innovated his own unmatched creative and progressive direction that his remarkable and coveted prints showcase today.