Art appreciation

ingiechan wanted to get out of the house at least once this weekend. A week ago, she received the new folder of the museumjaarkaart (‘museum year card’, which allows you free entrance in many museums in the Netherlands) and there was mention of an ukiyo-e exhibition with work from Hokusai, in the Sieboldhuis. And so we set out to Leiden today.

Siebold was a doctor who visited Japan as part of the Dutch trade mission. He was a true scientist who tried to gain as much insight on Japan as possible, so he collected many artifacts and plant- and animal specimen. Some of his collection is now on exhibit in the Sieboldhuis, his former residence. It’s an interesting collection indeed, but the main attraction today was the Hokusai exhibition.

I love graphic work, especially after having done the graphics course — knowing the techniques used certainly adds to the appeal (to me). When we were in Japan last spring, we visited an ukiyo-e museum in Osaka. The Tokyo-Edo museum in Tokyo had many exhibits about ukiyo-e as well, and I got a good look at the technique and the detailing that was prevalent at the time.
And so I loved the exhibition as well. There were some really interesting prints — some using blindprinting to add details, and from some prints there were two versions to show the difference between the original and a later reprint.

On the first floor, there is an art dealer that specialises in Japanese art, Hotei. We browsed a bit, but most of the stuff was too expensive to make it worth it for us. Until a lady pointed at a box of prints and said: “Well, these are all 250 euros.”
It just so happened that I had looked at my bank statement for the spaarloon (‘wage savings’) that I built up at TOJ. That was more than 500 euros, and it’s money that I don’t need for anything right now — it’s extra. And while I don’t need to spend it, I have been looking at uikyo-e listings on art auction sites before. I own a few books about these prints. I like them a lot…
And so we browsed through the ‘cheap’ bin and found one that we both really, really, really liked. So we bought it.

It’s by Chikanobu, who was active as print-maker in the Meiji era (so, after Japan had become a modern nation). We bought this print, depicting a scene from a kabuki play, which in turn depicts a historical event. It’s part of a series of ukiyo-e prints.
We don’t have the print at home yet — it has to be framed first, and we’ll be collecting it when we go back for the second part of the Hokusai exhibition. ingiechan snapped a pic of our print, though — you can see that it is nicely preserved: still full of color after 125 years.

I’m very pleased that I will be owning a good quality ukiyo-e print. I can’t stop looking at it.