Andon 60

September 1998

Andon 60

EDITORIAL: Kuniyoshi was a remarkably talented artist. Often disparaged as one of the representatives of the 'Decadents' by the early print collectors, he was re-appreciated by Mr. B. W. Robinson as one of the great masters of the Japanese colour-print. He showed much more diversity in subjects, originality and humour than his contemporary colleagues. Today we have a fairly good picture of Kuniyoshi's artistic oeuvre but many blank spots remain when looking for his personal motives and sources of inspiration. Certainly there is a distinct influence of European pictorial sources in his landscapes. Was there an interested public or are we to look upon them as artistic experiments?

In his lecture Kuniyoshi and the Western Craze, held on the occasion of our Kuniyoshi exhibition, Timon Screech came up with another interesting idea. He suggested that the success of Kuniyoshi's warrior prints, showing Japans great martial successes and heroes of the past, might reflect the growing fear of the Japanese for the approaching Western superior military powers. A classic example of sublimation. This issue of Andon is largely devoted to the historical and social aspects of Kuniyoshi's work. Based on the series Taiheiki eiyū den Elena Varshavskaya formalizes some generic features of musha-e, while Rudy Kousbroek lingers upon Kuniyoshis love for cats .... ze gad is blag; id haz blag legz and blag earz and a blag dail. You may have been present at the Kuniyoshi seminar in March this year and heard Rudy Kousbroek pronounce that sentence and you may have enjoyed the colourful examples that Elena Varshavskaya showed to illustrate her story. We also have two other stories about prints by Kuniyoshi. Johan Somerwil solved a puzzle print and lvo Smits clarifies how Kuniyoshi visualised his own interpretation of a classical poem. If you can give more examples of Kuniyoshi's puns based on cat prints or if you have other examples that might shed more light on prints by Kuniyoshi we will be happy to publish them.


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