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The C. Coleman McGehee Collection of Ukiyo-e Prints


Utagawa Toyokuni III

by Utagawa Toyokuni III
pub. date 1852. Woodblock print; ink and color on paper


Japanese woodblock prints, also known as ukiyo-e, were the most popular art form in the Edo period (1603-1868) in Japan. These prints could be produced rapidly, relatively inexpensively, and in large quantity,
thus making them exceptionally responsive to the increasing and changing demand of the urban society that patronized and influenced art and theater. The kabuki, which incorporated singing, dancing and acting, developed side by side with ukiyo-e. As memorable plays and performances inspired print artists, the prints in turn promoted the actors, as well as their costumes, make-up and acting styles. The 100 prints of the C. Coleman McGehee Collection, on long-term loan from the Japan-Virginia Society, represent the prodigious bodies of work of the Utagawa School, including Toyokuni III, Kunisada II and Hiroshige. These compelling images pulsated with vibrant colors, dramatic actions and intense emotions. They open a window on the fascinating life of 19th-century Japan.

Utagawa Scool

"ACTOR OTANI TOMOEMON as kawabe Sadanori",
Utagawa Scool; pub. date: 1865
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper


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