This remarkable series of 100 modernist woodblock prints is one of the highlights of the Japanese Sosaku Hanga (‘Creative Print’) movement.

The striking images were created over four years by eight of the leading printmakers of the time, including Onchi Koshiro (1891-1955) and Hiratsuka Un’ichi (1895-1997).

The eight contributors set out to document and celebrate the dynamism of Tokyo, the Japanese capital city, which had only recently recovered from the devastating earthquake of 1923. The prints depict modern subway stations, cinemas, dancehalls, baseball parks, theatres, restaurants and department stores, as well as views of traditional shrines, temples and bridges.

International contemporary art had a deep influence on the artists involved, but they also drew on traditional Japanese woodblock prints for inspiration. Another major source for the series is Utagawa Hiroshige’s One Hundred Famous Views of Edo of 1856-59.

While individual prints from One Hundred Views of New Tokyo are sometimes available on the art market, it very rarely appears as a complete set. Only 50 sets were made, and only three are known to be held in museum collections around the world.

Japanese art and artefacts feature strongly in the Ashmolean Museum’s collection, including 2,000 woodblock prints. This new acquisition is the only complete set of One Hundred Views of New Tokyo in the UK.

Provenance

The set was acquired by Art Shop Ezoshi at Osaka Kotenkai book dealers' auction in Osaka in April 2019, where it was sold by Tokyo antiquarian book dealer Nakagawa Shobo (https://www.koshokaitori.com/kosyo/20190316a/). The set previously belonged to




Exhibitions at Ashmolean Museum

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