LARGE FLOWERS BY HOKUSAI REVISITED

The untitled series of ten large flowers were published circa 1832. Japanese buyers saw the publication of woodblocks as a craft and were not impressed by the seemingly simple prints. In a romantic view, Hokusai vainly tried to sell the prints on the streets during the hunger of the Tenpo period. In a realistic view, there was no interest. Recognition came by Westerners during the time of the Impressionists. Claude Monet owned a complete set.

Few woodblocks survived. Remaining copies have been poorly preserved. The background often shows the wear of time and the subjects became discoloured. Later the woodblocks were reprinted as authentic reproductions (from recut blocks) or posters after originals.

I managed to collect the series as authentic reproductions. A recent poster on canvas has been added. The images are shown in the order, applied by Matthi Forrer. The pictures are no thumbnails.

 

1. BELL-FLOWER AND DRAGONFLY

Authentic reproduction

2. MORNING-GLORY AND TREE-FROG

Authentic reproduction by Adachi Institute

The frog can be distinguished near the centre.

3. PEONIES AND BUTTERFLY

Authentic reproduction by Adachi Institute

4. POPPIES

Authentic reproduction

5A. CHRYSANTHEMUM AND BEE

Authentic reproduction of poor quality

6. LILIES

Authentic reproduction

7. IRISES AND GRASSHOPPER

Authentic reproduction by Adachi Institute

8. ROSE-MALLOW AND SPARROW

Authentic reproduction

9. HYDRANGEA AND SWALLOW

Authentic reproduction

10A. ORANGE ORCHIDS

Authentic reproduction by Adachi Institute

 

The ten images of the first edition can be found in Matthi Forrer, Hokusai: Prints and drawings. London 1991. I compared the authentic reproductions with the originals. The colours were better for the reproductions. So it gives an additional pleasure to watch the authentic reproductions. Number 10B (a poster of an original) presents the mentioned problems. The colour of the orchids has changed from orange to brown by oxidation and the wear on the background shows the effect of a centerfold. 

5B. CHRYSANTHEMUM AND BEE

Authentic reproduction by Adachi Institute

10B. ORANGE ORCHIDS

Poster after an original


Jan van Reek

 
More exhibitions of Japanese prints
Series by Hokusai and Yoshitoshi