SUMMARY: Christies Online Sale, ‘Iconic Prints by the Japanese Masters’

Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) 'Red Fuji', or South Wind, Clear Weather (Gaifu kaisei)

Katsushika Hokusai, Red Fuji, or South Wind, Clear Weather (Est. GBP 3,000-4,000)

 Following on from last week’s summary of Christies New York’s, ‘Robert Hatfield Ellsworth’ sale, this week sees the auction house hold an online sale of Japanese ukiyo-e. The realised figures will undoubtedly be lower than those in the Ellsworth sale, however several unique items are on offer.

Whilst the collection offers buyers the chance of owning several prints by the more common ukiyo-e masters, Hiroshige, Hokusai, Yoshitoshi, it also includes several more compelling, and sought after pieces such as a calendar printed by early 20th century Shin-Hanga master, Kawase Hasui (1883-1957.) The calendar (seen below) was commissioned by ‘Pacific Transport Lines’ in 1953, only 500 were made. It includes 12 original prints, from Hasui’s original woodblocks. Whilst this sort of project was rare for a ukiyo-e artist to undertake, Christies comments: “It seems that he became quite absorbed in the project, striving to portray a true sense of the Japanese landscape.”

Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) Calendar for the Pacific Transport Lines, 1953

Hasui estimate GBP 5,000 – 7,000

 For those looking for more traditional purchases the sale includes several notable items from Katsushika Hokusai, including Red Fuji,’ or South Wind, Clear Weather, (Est. 3,000 – 4,000), Utagawa Hiroshige’s, ‘Sudden Shower over Shin-Ohashi Bridge and Atake,’ (est. GBP 6000-8000) and several landscape editions from Hiroshige’s, ‘100 famous views of Edo’. For those looking to diversify their ukiyo-e collection, two 20th century prints of India in the 1920’s are available. Produced by the lesser-known artist, Yoshida Hiroshi (1876-1950) they have an estimate of GBP 1,000 – 1,200.

 1. Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950) Two woodblock prints depicting India 2. Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950) Two woodblock prints depicting India

Yoshida Hiroshi, ‘Two 20th Century prints of India’ (Est. GBP 1,000 – 1,200)

TEFAF’s 2015 art market report reinforces the fact that online sales are gaining a stronger following. This years report was the first to include chapters solely on online sales. It also identified a rise in global online sales from €2.5 billion in 2013, to €3.3 billion in 2014, which is approximately 6% of the market.


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