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Japanese Prints: From Early Masters to the Modern
In James A. Michener the Japanese print has found its ideal commentator. Combining the finished literary style of an outstanding novelist with a mature knowledge of his subject, he is able to bring this great art form to life in words, directly communicating his understanding, love, and enthusiasm rather than obscuring his subject in pedantry. In fact, it might almost be said that he here lets the prints speak for themselves, in a wealth of magnificent illustrations and apt but unobtrusive commentary. It is only when one has finished the book that he realizes he has been conducted on a tour of three centuries of art, a tour so carefully arranged as to give a deep understanding of the history and aesthetics of Japanese prints, a new appreciation of a superlative art. The book has many other unique features. So far as consonant with his aim of presenting a full survey, Mr. Michener has illustrated the book with lesser-known masterpieces rather than with those few prints that have been reproduced almost ad nauseam. Unlike earlier books, this does not stop with the past century, but brings the subject completely up to date, introducing, in the modern Japanese print, some of the most exciting art being created in Japan-and in the world-today. The book also becomes a revealing account of the collecting of Japanese prints, with many valuable hints to collectors based upon the author's own experiences in gathering together one of the best print collections of recent years: it is a collecting field in which many hints are needed, with prices varying from $5 to $5,000 per print, and with forgeries and doubtful attributions on every hand.
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January 15, 2013
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