Published by Verlag für moderne Kunst. Edited with text by Johannes Wieninger, Mio Wakita-Elis. Preface by Christoph Thun-Hohenstein.
How ukiyo-e master Utagawa Kuniyoshi balanced satire and popularism in his immensely popular woodcuts
One of the most important and innovative Japanese artists of the 19th century, Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861) produced artistically and technically groundbreaking prints that met with great popularity among the general public. As a designer of commercially popular products he was constantly exploring new themes and idioms. Besides single sheets and series, often produced in close cooperation with the entertainment industry of his day, he also created works critiquing the upper-class establishment.
Kuniyoshi: Design and Entertainment in Japanese Woodcuts includes a selection of prints from the MAK, Vienna museum’s extensive woodblock print collection, and demonstrates how his works speak to the great political and social changes in 19th-century Japan. Featuring a wealth of color illustrations, it demonstrates the range of possibility in popular Japanese woodcutting, from depictions of reality to fiction to dreams and everything in between, highlighting an art form that defined Japanese culture and eventually led to the inception of manga and anime.
Published by Skira. Edited with text by Rossella Menegazzo. Text by Christian Pallone.
Recognized as one of the most interesting and vibrant artists of the Edo period, Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861) is a major exponent of ukiyo-e. His fame is tied to the series of polychrome xylographs that illustrate the 108 heroes from the novel Suikoden (Brigands), a late-18th-century bestseller in China and Japan that described a band of brigands who defend those oppressed by injustice and government corruption. The book conjures imagery of violent, powerful warriors with muscular tattooed bodies—imagery that today inspires manga, anime, tattoo artists and illustrators across the world. Kuniyoshi embraced the genre of warrior prints, but he was also interested in portraits of female beauties, kabuki actors, landscapes, children and ghosts, another greatly admired genre in Japan. Nonetheless, his name is above all associated with Arcimboldo-like composite figures, figures within figures and parodies of stories and battles. His images are fantastical, baroque, rich in color and detail, with imposing characters and dynamic actions. This book surveys the work of a versatile and intriguing figure whose impressive technique birthed a school that continued for generations.