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Japanese & Korean Art

Christie's New York


10AM, March 19, 2019

Sale 17248


Kotondo 281

Lot 281, "Kamosuli (combing the hair)," by Torii Kotondo, woodblock print, 1933, 86 of 100, 18 7/8 by 11 3/4 inches


By Carter B. Horsley


This auction of Japanese and Korean Art at Christie's New York, March 22, 2019 features some fine prints.

Lot 281 is a beautiful woodblock print of "Kamosuki (combing the hair) by Torri Kotondo (1900-1976).  Dated 1933, it is numbered 86 of 100 and measures 18 78 by 11 3/4 inches.
 

The catalogue provides the following commentary about this lot, which was the cover illustration of the catalogue:

"When Toriiu Kotondo's works first appeared in Japan, people distanced themselves due to the glamorous and 'pretty' asthestic.  Today, Kotondo prints are difficult to find, sell as high as any of the great ukiyo-e artists, and have appreciated in value at a speed incomparable to other woodblock prints. Kamisuki is his most notorious work: a previous edition published in 1930 originally featured the subject fully nude.  The print was banned after authorities declared it to be provocative, destroying thirty of its hundred copies."

The lot has a modest estimate of $10,000 to $20,000.  It sold for $72,500.


Hokusai 235

Lot 235, "Fine Wind, Clear Weather" or "Red Fuji," by Katsushika Hokusai, woodblock print, 14 7/8 by 10 inches.

Lot 235 is "Fine Wind, clear weather)," or "Red Fuji," by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), a woodblock print that measures 14 7/8 by 10 inches.

The catalogue entry provides the following commentary:

"Despite the omnipotence of the 'Great Wave' and most connoisseurs find 'Red Fuji' the centerpiece of Hokusai's Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji;  It, like its variant, 'Fuji over lightning,' is the only design without human element in a set otherwise  devoted to activities in familiar places, presided over by the sacred mountain. The scene here is late summer or early autumn on the eastern side of the volcano.  Dawn is breaking over the Pacific Ocean, flushing the slopes, here printed in brick red and brownish saturations at the crown.  The fine wind of the title is blowing from the south, penetrating cumulus clouds that the Japanese liken to a shoal of small fish.  The great off-center triangle of thye mountain reduces the tree line to a peppering of blue dots.  Unusual in Japanese depictions of the day, the air is a wide swath of Berlin plue pigment, a novelty import in the 1830s that gradually darkens to the top.  In this impression, the printer has gone for dramatic effect with measured fuss, using the natural grain of the wood block for contour and contrast.

"With utmost simplicity of shapes and palette, Hokusai delivers not versimilitude but a sensation of the majesty and supernatural power that inspired his personal devotion to Mount Fiji, as is obvious from his countless drawlins of it that culminate in his 1834 book One Hundred Views of Mount Fiji....Unlike other prints in the series in which he uses perspective to link the foreground humand scene to the background theme, Mount Fiji, his emphasis on two-dimensionality is deliberate; it accentuates both the symbolic aspect and the visual drama."

The lot has an estimate of $90,000 to $120,000.  It sold for $507,000.

Utamaro  258


Lot 258, "Arawaruru koi (Obvious Love)," by Kitagawa Utamaro, woodblock print, 14 7/8 by 9 3/4 inches

Lot 258 is a nice woodblock print by Kitagawa Utamaro (1735?-1808) that is entitled "Arawaruru koi (Obvious Love)."  It measures 14 7/8 by 9 3/4 inches. 
There are silver mica highlights on the hair comb, traces of mica in the background and the image is from the artist's series Kasen koi no hu.

The lot has an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000.  It failed to sell.

Sharuku  260


Lot 260, "Osagawa Tsuneyo II as Osan, Ippei's Elder Sister," by Toshusai Sharaku, woodblock print, 14 1/4 by 9 3/4 inches

Lot 260, "Osagawa Tsuneyo II as Osan, Ippei's Elder Sister," by Toshusai Sharaku (Act. 1794-5), is a handsome woodblock print that measures 14 1/4 by 9 3/4 inches.  It has an estimate of $50,000 to $70,000.  It sold for $62,500.


Kunisada 263

Lot 263, "Kanshojo," by Utagawa Kunisada, woodblock print, 15 by 10 inches

Lot 263, "Kanshojo," by Utagawa Kunisada (1785-1865), is a fine and dramatic woodblock print that measures 15 by 10 inches.  It has an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000.  It sold for $35,000.


Kuniyoshi  269


Lot 269, Monster Skeleton thwarts princess in plot, woodblock print, by  Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 14 3/4 by 29 5/8 inches

Lot 269 is a famous woodblock print of Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861) of a Monster Skeleton thwarts princess in plot.  It measures 14 3/4 by 29 5/8 inches.  It has an estimate of $15,000 to $25,000.  It sold for $21,500.


Peacock incense burner  340


Lot 340, Peacock incense burner, signed Suetgugu, late 19th Century, 14 5/8 inches high

Lot 340 is an attrative Peacock incense burner, signed Suetgugu, late 19th Century.  It is 14 5/8 inches high.  It has an estimate of $30,000 to $40,000.  It sold for $40,000.


See The City Review article on the Fall 2012 Japanese Art auction at Christie's New York

See The City Review article on the Spring 2012 Japanese Art auction at Christie's New York

See The City Review article on the Fall 2011 Japanese Art auction at Christie's New York

See The City Review article on the Fall 2010 Japanese Art auction at Christie's New York


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