The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Thursday, June 21, 2018

Japanese Fascination with the West is Explored in Exhibition of Prints
Picture of a Balloon (Füsen zu), from the series A Photographic Mirror (Shashinkyö), 1861. Baisotei Gengyo, Japanese, 1817 - 1880. Color woodcut, Öban tate-e: 14 x 9 3/8 inches (35.6 x 23.8 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art, Purchased with the Lola Downin Peck Fund and with funds contributed by Lessing J. Rosenwald, Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Hauslohner, Dr. Emanuel Wolff, the Derald and Janet Ruttenberg Foundation, Mrs. Edward G. Budd, Jr., and David P. Willis, 1968.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- Isolated by the ruling Tokugawa shogunate from the outside world, Japanese citizens were naturally curious about the Westerners who began to arrive on their shores following Commodore Matthew Perry’s historic voyages to Japan in 1853–1854. This growing fascination led to the flourishing of hundreds of color woodcuts portraying the foreigners who arrived after Japan opened its borders to trade with the United States, France, Britain, the Netherlands and Russia at the end of the 1850s.

The exhibition of 98 woodcuts, selected from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s extensive collection of 19th-century Japanese prints, showcases the rising interest in the dress, habits, and technologies of Westerners. The prints feature the coal-powered vessels, known as “Black Ships,” of the trade nations, ladies in fancy hoop skirts and gentlemen in top hats, unusual household furnishings, and imaginary views of foreign countries.

“We are pleased to share this aspect of the Museum’s rich collection of more than 150,000 prints, drawings and photographs with our visitors,” said Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and CEO of the Museum. “The exhibition offers a fascinating perspective on the Japanese response to the foreigners who appeared at their ports. This is the first time the Yokohama woodcuts have been displayed at the Museum in more than 30 years.”

“The prints stand apart from the popular traditional ukiyo-e prints from the same time period, which focused on motifs of daily Japanese life, native landscapes, entertainment, and theater subjects,” said Shelley R. Langdale, Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings. “It is fascinating, from a Western perspective to see the West portrayed as a manifestation of the exotic.”

Having perfected color woodcut techniques during the 18th century, Japanese print publishers competed to present novel, current subject matter to meet the demand of a wide audience. A place transformed from small fishing village into a major port, Yokohama was a rich source for subjects, inspiring colorful and often whimsical images of its newest residents. Sadahide (1807–1873), among the most prolific Yokohama print artists, was known for his detailed views of the city. Included is Sadahide’s magnificent panorama Complete Picture of the Newly Opened Port of Yokohama (c. 1860); printed on eight joined sheets it is one of the largest composite color woodcut prints ever issued in Japan (27 1/8 x 75 inches) and provides an accurate representation of the rapidly developing region.

Other prints provide a highly fantastical view of Yokohama and its new arrivals. Artists often supplemented eyewitness accounts with imagery copied from black-and-white illustrations found in imported Western journals and publications such as the Illustrated London News. Many artists represented married couples of various foreign nationalities, such as those made by Utagawa Yoshiiku (Japanese, 1833 – 1904), for the series “Pictures of People from Foreign Lands.” In the rush to meet the demand for images, mistakes often occurred – particularly as many Japanese artists could not read the foreign captions that accompanied Western illustrations. A striped red, white, and green Italian flag is depicted with two figures in a print by Utagawa Yoshitora (Japanese, 1836 – 1887), titled Russians (Two Russian Men with a Flag).

Some 31 Japanese artists produced more than 500 print designs during the first two years of the opening of Yokohama’s port. Yokohama woodcuts were printed in large quantities and sold inexpensively at bookstalls and by itinerant vendors, and by some of the same print shops and publishers that produced the works of well-known ukiyo-e print artists, such as Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858), Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861), and Hokusai (1760-1849). The Philadelphia Museum of Art owns one of the largest collections of Yokohama woodcuts in the United States.

Philadelphia Museum of Art | Shelley R. Langdale | Timothy Rub | Japanese Fascination |

Today's News

September 4, 2010

Old Masters Picture Gallery in Dresden Explores the Young Johannes Vermeer

Gallery Hyundai Presents Sarah Morris: Clips, Knots, and 1972

A Floating Pavilion for Croatia at the Venice Architecture Biennale

First Millet Exhibition in More Than Twenty-Five Years at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Culture Minister Opens National Gallery Exhibition Devoted to Dutch 17th-Century Painter Gabriel Metsu

Solo Exhibitions by Don Porcella and Susanne Ring at Cain Schulte Gallery

Bonhams to Sell Elvis Presley's Mercedes-Benz 600 in December

New Works by Berlin Fine Art Photographer Stefan Heyne at Sudendorf Gallery

Adolph Gottlieb Retrospective Opens at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection

Galerie Adler Opens Artists Anonymous: "Everything is Possible - Everything is Done"

Treasures of the Islamic and Indian Worlds at Christie's London

New Book by the Royal Collection Explores the Impact of the Royal Portrait

Arthur Blumenthal Appointed Senior Numismatist at Heritage Auctions

SFMOMA to Honor William T. Wiley with 11th Annual Bay Area Treasure Award

Smithsonian American Art Museum Offers Largest Mission-Based Game Ever Designed

Sotheby's Exhibition of Sculpture at Chatsworth, Now in Its Fifth Year

Ed Ruscha's Apartments, Parking Lots, Palm Trees and Others at Sprüth Magers

Artist Mladen Miljanovic Draws Inspiration from Bosnia's Turmoil

Japanese Fascination with the West is Explored in Exhibition of Prints

Pearl Harbor Marks 65th Anniversary of World War II's End

Galerie Anita Beckers Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Jürgen Klauke Exhibition

Australian Pavilion in Venice Showcases a New Perspective on Cities

Phillips Collection to Reopen on Saturday, Museum Waives Admission Fees

Mexica Ceremonial Censer Replica Handed over to Tlahuac Community

Museum of Modern Art Announces ContemporAsian

Renaissance Seattle Hotel and Seattle Art Museum Celebrate Legacy of Pablo Picasso

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Porsche Super Speedster offered for first time in 50 years at RM Sotheby's Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros

Related Stories

Installation Design by Zaha Hadid creates dynamic setting for exhibition of her recent product designs

The Philadelphia Museum of Art Announces Acquisition of 3,000 Works by Paul Strand

Philadelphia Museum of Art Presents Major Survey Devoted to Italian Artist Michelangelo Pistoletto

Museum Announces Appointment of Alice Beamesderfer as Deputy Director

Six Artists Explore the Interaction between Cinema and Reality

Japanese Fascination with the West is Explored in Exhibition of 19th-Century Yokohama Prints

Exhibition of North African Jewelry and Photography Announced in Philadelphia

Exhibition of North African Jewelry and Photography Announced in Philadelphia

Museum to Present Major Survey Devoted to Italian Artist Michelangelo Pistoletto

Newly Restored, Eakins's 'The Gross Clinic' to be Centerpiece of Exhibition

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful