This sumptuously produced monograph showcases the work of Utagawa Kuniyoshi, one of the last great Japanese masters of ukiyo-e prints, illustrations, and paintings.
Best known for his depictions of fierce samurai warriors in battle, Utagawa Kuniyoshi also produced landscapes, portraits of Kabuki actors, and images of mythical animals. His dynamic action scenes and fantastic creatures are recognized today as precursors of manga and anime. This dazzling volume by Matthi Forrer, one of the leading experts on ukiyo-e art, traces Kuniyoshi’s entire career. Chapters look at the major aspects of Kuniyoshi’s oeuvre; his book illustrations and portraits of fashionable women; his enormously popular series featuring actors, warriors, and landscapes; and the influence of Western art on his career. Meticulous, large-scale reproductions highlight the work’s clear outlines, elegantly muted palette, and precise details—from electrifying depictions of a tiger, mid-pounce, and light-hearted interpretations of Chinese folktales, to the terrifying figures of samurai swordsmen and romantic winter landscapes. A Japanese-style binding and box complete this luxurious package that promises an endlessly absorbing journey into the life of Kuniyoshi during the latter days of Japan’s Edo period.
“[The book] is as large and cinematically lavish as its impassioned subject matter seems to demand.”
Matthi Forrer is an independent curator and former Curator for Japanese Arts at the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden, Netherlands. He is the author of numerous books on Japanese art, including Hokusai, Hiroshige, and Hiroshige: Prints and Drawings (all by Prestel).