Japanese woodblock prints of the 18th and 19th Centuries record an exotic, vibrant, colourful and highly sophisticated society in a form which constitutes a significant element in the history of world graphic art. The imagery takes the viewer into a world of Kabuki plays and actors, courtesans and beautiful women, heroes of legend, historical battles, the Japanese landscape, and erotica. Moreover, their design and the colour woodblock printing technique had an extraordinary and lasting influence on Western art and graphic design. As a result Japanese prints have been collected ever since Japan opened to the West in the mid 19th Century and continue to resonate with collectors, artists and the viewing public today.
Taken from the Forrest/Nedéla Collection, 250 Years of Japanese Prints, brings together some 50 works by the great artists of the 18th and 19th Centuries, such as Harunobu, Utamaro, Hokusai, Hiroshige, Kunasada, Kuniyoshi and Yoshitoshi, as well as Yoshida, Koson, Kokei and Hamanishi, masters of the renaissance of Japanese print making in the 20th Century.