Enfilade

The Burlington Magazine, March 2020

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, journal articles, reviews by Editor on March 30, 2020

The eighteenth century in The Burlington:

The Burlington Magazine 162 (March 2020) — Drawings

Luigi Valadier, Pyx, 1769–71, gilt silver, 22 × 11 cm, one of eighteen pieces of a pontifical mass service belonging to the cathedral of Portalegre, Portugal (Church of S. Miguel, Castelo Branco).

A R T I C L E S

• Teresa Leonor M. Vale “A Portuguese Bishop’s Pontifical Mass Service by Luigi Valadier,” pp. 196–203. A gilt silver pontifical mass service belonging to the cathedral of Portalegre, Portugal, is here identified as the work of the celebrated Roman silversmith Luigi Valadier and dated 1769–71. It is closely similar to a contemporary service owned by Cardinal Domenico Orsini and both services can be linked to a group of drawings from Valadier’s workshop.

S H O R T E R  N O T I C E S

Kee Il Choi, Jr., “Ornament from China: Sources for a Garden Folly Design by Jean-Jacques Lequeu,” pp. 216–19.

R E V I E W S

• Kirstin Kennedy, Review of Carolina Naya Franco, Joyas y alhajas del Alto Aragón: esmaltes y piedras preciosas de ajuares y tesoros históricos (2018).

• Stéphane Loire, Review of Nicola Spinosa, ed., Francesco Solimena (1657–1747) e le Arti a Napoli (2018).

• Aileen Dawson, Review of Claudia Bodinek (with contributions by Peter Braun, Tobias Pfeifer-Helke und Claudia Schnitzer), Raffinesse im Akkord: Meissener Porzellanmalerei und ihre Grafischen Vorlagen (2018).

• David Bindman, Review of the exhibition Canova Thorvaldsen: The Birth of Modern Sculpture (Milan: Gallerie d’Italia, 2019–20).

• Daniel Stewart, Review of the exhibition Troy: Myth and Reality (London: British Museum, 2019–20).

• Christiane Elster, Review of the exhibition History in Fashion: 1500 Years of Embroidery in Fashion (Leipzig: GRASSI Museum of Applied Arts, 2019–20).

• Philippa Glanville, Review of the exhibition Feast and Fast: The Art of Food in Europe, 1500–1800 (Cambridge: Fitzwilliam Museum, 2019–20)

• Kamila Kocialkowska, Review of the exhibition Peter the Great: Collector, Scholar, Artist (Moscow Kremlin Museums, 2019–20).

• Eckart Marchand, Review of the exhibition Near Life: The Gipsformerei: 200 Years of Casting Plaster (Berlin: James-Simon-Galerie, 2019–20).

New Book | The Campbells of Cawdor and their Welsh Estates

Posted in books by Editor on March 28, 2020

From Boydell & Brewer:

John Davies, The Changing Fortunes of a British Aristocratic Family, 1689–1976: The Campbells of Cawdor and their Welsh Estates (Martlesham, Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer, 2019), 353 pages, £85.

Traces the development of a typical British aristocratic family, its estates and its activities over the period when the landed aristocracy was at its height and over the period when the aristocracy had to cope with increasing democratisation.

For over two hundred years, the Campbells of Cawdor were major landowners, industrialists and politicians. Originating in Nairnshire, Scotland, they moved in the late seventeenth century to south Wales, where they became the second largest landowner in Wales and owners of significant coal and lead mines. They participated politically in the British state as MPs, peers, lords of the admiralty including one first lord, treasury lords, admirals, and army officers. They supported local good causes, were involved in London ‘society’, and were major art collectors. As such their story is fairly typical of many other aristocratic families in the period. This book traces the development of the family, its estates, and activities from the late seventeenth to the late twentieth century. It shows how they established their wealth and power during the eighteenth century—the period when the landed aristocracy was at its height—how they responded in the nineteenth century to the moves towards more democratic forms of local and national government, and how—despite the difficulties aristocratic families and estates faced in the twentieth century—they survived, selling off their Welsh lands and returning to their Scottish base, which remains a flourishing agricultural estate and tourist destination.

John E. Davies was the County Archivist for Carmarthenshire and is now an independent historical researcher. He completed his doctorate at Swansea University.

C O N T E N T S

Introduction
Cawdor and Campbell
Estate Administration
The Agricultural Estate: The Cawdors as Farmers and Landlords
The Cawdors as Industrial Landowners
The Cawdors in the Community: Church and Education
The Melee of Local Governance
The Cawdors in Politics: Interest Building, Consolidation, and Decline
Private and Exclusive Lives
The End of the Welsh Estates
Conclusion

Bibliography

New Book | Anglo-Saxonism and the Idea of Englishness

Posted in books by Editor on March 27, 2020

From Boydell & Brewer:

Dustin M. Frazier Wood, Anglo-Saxonism and the Idea of Englishness in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Martlesham, Suffolk: Boydell Press, 2020), 239 pages, ISBN: 978-1783275014, $99.

Long before they appeared in the pages of Ivanhoe and nineteenth-century Old English scholarship, the Anglo-Saxons had become commonplace in Georgian Britain. The eighteenth century—closely associated with Neoclassicism and the Gothic and Celtic revivals—also witnessed the emergence of intertwined scholarly and popular Anglo-Saxonisms that helped to define what it meant to be English. This book explores scholarly Anglo-Saxon studies and imaginative Anglo-Saxonism during a century not normally associated with either. Early in the century, scholars and politicians devised a rhetoric of Anglo-Saxon inheritance in response to the Hanoverian succession, and participants in Britain’s burgeoning antiquarian culture adopted simultaneously affective and scientific approaches to Anglo-Saxon remains. Patriotism, imagination, and scholarship informed the writing of Enlightenment histories that presented England, its counties, and its towns as Anglo-Saxon landscapes. Those same histories encouraged English readers to imagine themselves as the descendants of Anglo-Saxon ancestors—as did history paintings, book illustrations, poetry, and drama that brought the Anglo-Saxon past to life. Drawing together these strands of scholarly and popular medievalism, this book identifies Anglo-Saxonism as a multifaceted, celebratory and inclusive idea of Englishness at work in eighteenth-century Britain.

Dustin M. Frazier Wood is a Lecturer in English at the University of Roehampton.

C O N T E N T S

Introduction: Anglo-Saxonism, Medievalism, and the Eighteenth Century
1  Anglo-Saxonisms of the Early Eighteenth Century
2  Antiquaries and Anglo-Saxons
3  Anglo-Saxon History and the English Landscape
4  Imaging and Imagining Anglo-Saxonness
5  Anglo-Saxonist Politics and Posterity
Conclusion: Sharon Turner’s History of the Anglo-Saxons

Bibliography

New Book | Lessons of Travel in Eighteenth-Century France

Posted in books by Editor on March 26, 2020

From Boydell & Brewer:

Gábor Gelléri, Lessons of Travel in Eighteenth-Century France: From Grand Tour to School Trips (Martlesham, Suffolk: Boydell Press, 2020), 245 pages, ISBN: 978-1783274369, $130.

A study of the literature of the ‘art of travel’ in eighteenth-century France, showing how consideration of who should travel and for what purpose provided an occasion for wider debate about the social status quo.

Early modern educational travel is usually associated with the Grand Tour: a young nobleman’s journey through the established highlights of Europe. Lessons of Travel presents how, in eighteenth-century France, this practice was heavily contested, and the idea of educational travel had far wider implications. Through the study of a huge range of both canonical and little-known sources discussing ‘the art of travel’, from abbé Pluche’s educational best seller, The Spectacle of Nature, through Rousseau’s Émile to practical prospectuses for collective educational travel in the revolutionary period, Gabor Gelleri investigates what it meant to ‘think about travels’ in eighteenth-century France. Consideration of who should travel and for what purpose, he argues, contributed to an international intellectual tradition but also provided a pretext for debate on the social status quo, including such issues as the place of the merchant class, the necessity for professional training, the uses of travel for young women and the education of a new generation of citizens of the Revolution.

Gábor Gelléri is Lecturer in French at Aberystwyth University.

C O N T E N T S

Introduction: On Reading Arts of Travel
Defining the Grand Tour
From Touring to Training: The Case of Diplomacy, 1680–1830
Trading with Men, Dealing with God: Abbé Pluche’s Ideas on Travel
Travelling on a Moebius Strip: Émile’s Travels
The End of an Era? The Prize Contest of the Academy of Lyon, 1785–87
Inventing School Trips? Revolutionary Programmes of Collective Educational Travel
Conclusion

Bibliography

New Book | Time and Place: Notes on the Art of Calendars

Posted in books by Editor on March 25, 2020

For any of you mindful today of the Calendar Act of 1750, which finally brought Britain into alignment with the Continent through its acceptance of the Gregorian calendar, thus beginning the New Year on January 1 rather than March 25 (the change, including a loss of eleven days, actually went into effect in September 1752). From Little Toller Books:

Alexandra Harris, Time and Place: Notes on the Art of Calendars (Dorset: Little Toller Books, 2019), 104 pages, ISBN: 978-1908213808, £12 / $18.

Dates are invented things. Nothing in nature decrees that today is today. But for millennia humans have divided time into portions, and given those portions names which are shared widely across cultures, creating a common agreement on the date. This convention is useful in practical ways: we can make arrangements and can communicate time elapsed or time ahead. But the calendar also makes a certain kind of truth and establishes that today is today. As calendars and almanacs developed, art from their specific time and place was naturally incorporated. In this small book showcasing the finest and most interesting art that has gone into almanacs, from the eight century onwards, Alexandra Harris brings in everything from Benedictine calendars to Old Moore’s Almanack.

Alexandra Harris is a renowned, prize-winning writer, critic, and cultural historian. Her books include Romantic Moderns, Weatherland, Modernism on Sea, and Virginia Woolf.

Exhibition | Power Mode: The Force of Fashion

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on March 22, 2020

Now installed at the Fashion Institute of Technology:

Power Mode: The Force of Fashion
The Museum at FIT, New York, 10 December 2019 — 9 May 2020

Curated by Emma McClendon

Today, we see a multitude of sartorial power symbols, from ‘power suits’ to ‘power heels’. But what makes a garment ‘powerful’? According to sociologist and political theorist Steven Lukes: “We speak and write about power, in innumerable situations, and we usually know, or think we know, perfectly well what we mean … And yet, among those who have reflected on the matter, there is no agreement about how to define it, how to conceive it, how to study it, and, if it can be measured, how to measure it.”

If we think of power in terms of kinetic force (for example, electrical power or a person’s physical power over another), clearly an inanimate item of clothing does not have actual power. The force of fashion is symbolic. It is social. It lies in the sphere of interpersonal relations and cultural dynamics. There is no single, universally accepted definition of power. Power means different things to different people at different times. As such, its connection to fashion is multifaceted, and a multifaceted approach is necessary for considering the role fashion plays in power dynamics both historically and today.

The exhibition is organized into five thematic sections, each devoted to a particular type of sartorial ‘power’. In each section, men’s and women’s clothing are considered side by side, and pieces from as early as the eighteenth century are juxtaposed with looks from contemporary collections.

The exhibition opens with a display of military and military-inspired ensembles, including a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel’s ‘dress blue’ uniform, a World War II–era ‘Ike’ jacket, and looks from Yves Saint Laurent, Burberry, and Ralph Lauren. Modern military uniforms combine tailoring with an elaborate code of patches, braiding, stripes, colors, and metalwork that makes the soldier a walking extension of the state’s power. In fashion, a company logo replaces the state’s seal, but uniform-inspired silhouettes, colors, textiles, and buttons become visual shorthand for the power, strength, and authority of the military. It is the power of association.

The next section focuses on different modes of status dressing that have emerged over the last 250 years, from ermine capes and luxurious brocade fabrics to contemporary “It” bags and logo-covered products. Aspiration, wealth, and Thorstein Veblen’s theory of “conspicuous consumption” are key to understanding the role status dressing plays in modern society. An 18th-century robe à la française demonstrates the importance of ornate, expensive textiles to courtly dress, while a Balenciaga puffer coat shows the way brand names have become crucial decorative elements in luxury fashion today.

From status dressing, the exhibition moves to consider the history of the suit. The sharply tailored suit is perhaps the most conventional example of ‘power dressing’. Indeed, the term power dressing was often used to describe the big-shouldered suits worn by upwardly mobile business men and women during the 1980s. However, the history of the suit is more nuanced. Anne Hollander points out, “Heads of state wear suits … and men accused of rape and murder wear them in court to help their chances of acquittal.” In court rooms and office spaces, the suit isn’t just a symbol of authority. It is also a sign of blending in—submitting to established norms and dress codes.

The fourth section considers the role of resistance dressing. Blue jeans, printed T-shirts, and black leather jackets have become some of the most common symbols of resistance in clothing. They signal a certain type of power that is subversive of established authority. It is the power of protest and rebellion. There is a tension between resistance clothing and ‘fashion’, with the later often being dismissed as surface-level commodification. But the relationship is not so simple—fashion can also be a vehicle for protest as seen in the recent work of Kerby Jean-Raymond for his label Pyer Moss.

Finally, the fifth section analyzes objects that are culturally coded as ‘sexy’. Corsets, leather, lingerie, and high-heeled boots are but a few examples. The power dynamics of these garments are inherently complex. How a garment is interpreted can fluctuate between dominance and subjugation. As fashion critic Holly Brubach once said of Versace’s famous 1992 bondage collection, it “riles women who think this is exploitative and appeals to women who think of his dominatrix look as a great Amazonian statement. It could go either way.”

Power Mode is a curatorial experiment. It aims to combine theory with history and object analysis in order to better understand the complex nature of power in fashion as well as the ways fashion can be key to a broader understanding of power dynamics in culture. The exhibition is organized by Emma McClendon, associate curator of costume.

Emma McClendon, ed., Power Mode: The Force of Fashion (Milan: Skira, 2019), 128 pages, ISBN: 978-8857239873, $45 / €39.

A more in-depth discussion of the themes represented in the exhibition is articulated in the lavishly illustrated accompanying book, also titled Power Mode: The Force of Fashion, edited by exhibition curator Emma McClendon and published by Skira. The book delves deeper into theory and history to investigate how certain garments have come to be culturally associated with power, as well as how their meanings have evolved over time. It also examines how fashion designers have interpreted these stylistic archetypes—both to convey and to subvert power. Chapter texts by McClendon are joined by object-based essays from renowned fashion scholars Valerie Steele, Christopher Breward, Jennifer Craik, and Peter McNeil, as well as Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Robin Givhan. The book also includes an essay by Kimberly M. Jenkins on the intersection of race, fashion, and power. This collection of texts will offer readers a variety of perspectives to help form a theoretical framework for considering the power dynamics inherent in fashion objects.

New Book | Artistische Wanderer

Posted in books by Editor on March 21, 2020

From Deutscher Kunstverlag (with thanks to the author for the English translations). . .

Gerrit Walczak, Artistische Wanderer: Die Künstler(e)migranten der Französischen Revolution (Berlin/Munich: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 2019), 448 pages, ISBN: 978-3422981201, €48.

Dozens of painters were part of the emigration occasioned by the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789. Whether French or foreigners established in France, these artists were driven out of the country by the rapid demise of the art market in the wake of political instability. Yet the dynamics of radicalization and war soon eroded distinction between economic migration and political exile.

Whether officially designated as émigrés or not, painters such as Élisabeth Vigée-Le Brun, Jean-Laurent Mosnier, Henri-Pierre Danloux, François-Xavier Fabre, and Louis Gauffier practiced their profession in Rome and Florence, London, Hamburg and Saint Petersburg. Whilst some of them established themselves in their host countries until the end of the Revolution, others successively transferred between the European metropoles. This first comprehensive study of the Revolution’s “artistic wanderers”—a term coined in Hamburg in 1799—traces their transnational itineraries and investigates productions shaped by transfer, acculturation, and innovation.

Gerrit Walczak is habilitated adjunct professor (Privatdozent) of art history at the Technical University Berlin, and has previously taught at the universities of Bochum, Köln, and Greifswald. He presently serves as interim editor of the Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte. His research focuses on the transnational migration of artists, on 18th-century art, its academies, and the art market. He is the author of Bürgerkünstler: Künstler, Staat und Öffentlichkeit im Paris der Aufklärung und Revolution (Deutscher Kunstverlag 2015).

C O N T E N T S

Here translated from the German

1  Introduction: Revolution and Mobility
Migration, Emigration, and Exile
Itinerant Artists and their Trajectories
Art Markets and Exile Art

2  Paris: The Initial Conditions of Artistic Emigration
The Fiction of Escape
Economy and Violence
Anti-Emigration Laws and Repression

3  Rome: The French Academy and the Revolution
Rome and Paris until the Fall of the Monarchy
Commissions and Appropriations
The End of the French Academy and its Fallout

4  Florence: Exiles, Tourists, and Occupiers
History Paintings for Foreigners
Tuscan Landscapes
French Grand Tour-Portraiture

5  London: Rivalries and Confrontations
Genius loci
Acculturation and its Limits
Political Stances

6  Hamburg: A Place of Passage
The Lure of Boom Economy
Tradesmen and other Clients
Reception and Receptivity

7  Saint Petersburg: Integration / Extraction
Providers to the Imperial Court
Modes of Transfer
Flux and Reflux

8  Coda: Re-migrations
The Salon of 1802
Humiliations
Souvenirs

Acknowledgements
Bibliography
Index

New Book | Luxe intime

Posted in books by Editor on March 20, 2020

From CTHS, with additional information available here:

Anne Perrin Khelissa, Luxe intime: Essai sur notre lien aux objets précieux (Aubervilliers: Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques, 2020), 125 pages, ISBN: 978-2735509126, 14€.

Notre rapport aux objets intimes (meubles, boîtes, tableaux, luminaires, services de table, vêtements, bijoux…) est historiquement daté. Sans une certaine conscience de soi, nous n’aurions pu leur accorder autant de sens : leur demander de satisfaire des besoins et des désirs, tout en les inscrivant dans des chaînes relationnelles et symboliques multiples. Ce changement advient au XVIIIe siècle et se perçoit actuellement encore dans nos sociétés de consommation. À l’heure où la planète croule sous les déchets et où l’objet du quotidien par excellence devient le téléphone portable, il semble important de s’interroger sur les fondements de notre être aux choses. Comment parler des objets intimes et du lien empathique que l’on tisse avec eux ? Quel langage et quelle sensibilité sont-ils les plus à même d’exprimer leur part technique et poétique, leur empreinte historique et leur aura transgénérationnelle ? Comment penser la culture matérielle occidentale au regard des contacts qu’elle a entretenu avec les autres cultures étrangères ? En puisant dans l’historiographie féconde de ce domaine, profondément renouvelée ces dix dernières années avec les apports des Cultural Studies et de la Global History, l’auteur esquisse une voie de rencontre où s’associent les discours, entre approche historique, sociale, littéraire, anthropologique et muséale.

Anne Perrin Khelissa est historienne de l’art, maître de conférences à l’université Toulouse – Jean-Jaurès et membre du Laboratoire de recherche FRAMESPA (UMR 5136 CNRS). Spécialiste du xviiie siècle, elle est l’auteur d’un ouvrage sur l’habitat aristocratique génois, Gênes au xviiie siècle : le décor d’un palais (CTHS-INHA, 2013), ainsi que de plusieurs publications sur les arts au Siècle des lumières.

T A B L E  D E S  M A T I È R E S

Introduction

L’objet domestique
• Culture matérielle
• Une approche par les sens
• Espace privé, espace public
• Agencer les intérieurs
• Circulations des objets

L’objet en société
• Du signe au sens
• Objets de distinction sociale
• Le luxe au service du politique
• Le présent diplomatique
• Appropriation et butin

Fabriquer l’objet
• Produire
• Savoir et savoir-faire
• Les arts et métiers
• Réminiscences

L’objet de notre imaginaire
• Utilité et fantaisie
• Histoire de l’art
• Prêter une âme aux objets
• Langage

Conclusion

Remerciements
Bibliographie sélective

New Book | History, Painting, and the Seriousness of Pleasure

Posted in books by Editor on March 19, 2020

From the Oxford University Studies in The Enlightenment series:

Susanna Caviglia, History, Painting, and the Seriousness of Pleasure in the Age of Louis XV (Liverpool: Voltaire Foundation in association with Liverpool University Press, 2020), 330 pages, ISBN: 978-1789620399, $99.

French painting of Louis XV’s reign (1715–74), generally categorized by the term rococo, has typically been understood as an artistic style aimed at furnishing courtly society with delightful images of its own frivolous pursuits. Instead, this book shows the significance and seriousness underpinning the notion of pleasure embedded in eighteenth-century history painting. During this time, pleasure became a moral ideal grounded not only in domestic life but also defining a range of social, political, and cultural transactions oriented toward transforming and improving society at large. History, Painting, and the Seriousness of Pleasure in the Age of Louis XV reconsiders the role of history painting in creating a new visual language that presented peace and happiness as an individual’s natural rights in the aftermath of Louis XIV’s bellicose reign (1643–1715). In this new study, Susanna Caviglia reinvestigates the artistic practices of an entire generation of painters born around 1700 (e.g. Francois Boucher, Charles-Joseph Natoire, and Carle Vanloo) in order to highlight the cultural forces at work within their now iconic images.

Susanna Caviglia is the Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies at Duke University. Her work focuses on early modern European art and culture with an emphasis on France and Italy. Her interests include the body in art, theory and practice of drawing, and cross-cultural relationships within the Mediterranean world. She is the author of Charles-Joseph Natoire (1700–1777) (Arthena, 2012).

C O N T E N T S

List of illustrations
Acknowledgments

Introduction
• Historical perspective: The peaceable kingdom of Louis XV
• The painters
• Toward a new artistic idiom

I. Historia in stasis
Chapter 1: The action de repos
• Prolegomena to the theory and practice
• Meditation, contemplation
• The dynamic body suspended
• Narrative disrupted
• Moments in the present and the future
Chapter 2: Corporeality and repose
• Fontenelle’s ideal
• Corporeal conversations
• Figures of seduction
• The expression of repose
• From narrative representation to figural presentation

II. The figure in artistic practice
Chapter 3: Figure/study/artwork
• Copying the figure
• The whole and the part
• The emergence of corporeal repose
• The new body language
Chapter 4: The story beyond the figure
• From study to subject
• Autonomous figures in painting
• Repertoires of models
• Life study and historical subject

III. The fabrication of a new grand genre
5: Before the painting
• The figure: From the idea to the painting
• The emergence of new creative practices
• The single body and the multiplication of bodies
• The figure: From reuse to quotation

Epilogue: On novelty in painting
• Brand new beauties
• The painting of the present

Bibliography
Index

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Note (added 19 March 2020) — The original posting included only an abbreviated table of contents.

Art Market | The Bachofen von Echt Ukiyo-e Collection

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on March 16, 2020

Scheduled to correspond with New York Asia Week, exhibitions like this one at Scholten Japanese Art may still be on view this week, though the auctions have been postponed until June, as noted by The Art Newspaper (also see this press release, published at Art Daily on 17 March). . .

The Baron J. Bachofen von Echt Collection of Golden Age Ukiyo-e
Scholten Japanese Art, New York, 12–21 March 2020

Scholten Japanese Art is pleased to participate in Asia Week 2020 with an extraordinary offering of Japanese woodblock prints: The Baron J. Bachofen von Echt Collection of Golden Age Ukiyo-e. The collection is comprised of a highly selective group of twenty-two figural woodblock prints produced during a period considered the highpoint of the genre, known as the ‘golden age’ of ukiyo-e, reaching its peak in the last decade of the 18th century. The prints depict bijin-ga (literally ‘beautiful person’), the influencers of their time—famous courtesans, waitresses, and beloved actors—with works by the most acclaimed ukiyo-e artists of the late 18th and early 19th century. There are works in this collection that are possibly unique, or one of only a handful of recorded examples, with connections to some of the most prominent early collectors and dealers of ukiyo-e. In many cases, these are the only examples still remaining outside of museum collections.

Kitao Shigemasa, Geisha and Maid Carrying a Shamisen Box, unsigned, with seal Hayashi Tadamasa, ca. 1777.

The term ukiyo (literally ‘floating world’) references an older Buddhist concept regarding the impermanence of life, but during the prosperity of the Edo Period in Japan the term began to be used to encompass and embolden everyday indulgences because of that impermanence.  One of the tangible records of those indulgences was the production of nishiki-e (literally ‘brocade pictures’), the full-color prints that we recognize today as ukiyo-e—images of the floating world celebrating youth and beauty, which began in ca. 1765.  After the advent of full-color woodblock printing, the market for nishiki-e, accessible to everyday people, steadily grew, and the materials and methods used to create this art rapidly evolved. A significant change that came about in the 1770s was that the craftsmen involved with production developed techniques for full-color printing on larger sheets of paper, and, as a result, this led to the general adoption of the standard ‘oban’ (approximately 15 by 10 inches) size by publishers. Larger paper was followed by an increase of the scale of the figures within compositions.  An excellent example of this is the earliest print in the group, a ca. 1777 design by Kitao Shigemasa (ca. 1739–1820), Geisha and Maid Carrying a Shamisen Box (15 by 10 1/8 inches). Shigemasa was primarily a designer of illustrated books, producing over 250 in his lifetime, many of which were erotic in nature.  With a comparatively small output of single sheet designs, the scarcity of extant Shigemasa prints belies his talent and influence on the genre. He worked with over twenty publishers, often with the innovative Tsutaya Juzaburo (1750–1797), whose impact looms large in the ‘golden age’ and likewise, in the Bachofen Collection. In 1774, the first book published by Tsutaya, Thousands at a Glance (Hitome senbon), featured illustrations by Shigemasa.  Approximately three years later Tsutaya published an untitled series depicting full-length images of geisha of which this is a part.

Eishosai Choki, Woman and Servant in Snow (Sechu sho shiki jo), this impression unsigned and without censor or publisher seals, published by Tsutaya Juzaburo, ca. 1790.

One of the finest prints included in this show, Woman and Servant in Snow, ca. 1790 (14 1/2 by 10 inches), is by an artist whose work is particularly rare to the market: Eishosai Choki (fl. ca. 1780–1809). Also published by Tsutaya Juzaburo, the print demonstrates one of the hallmarks of golden age prints—the introduction of lavish printing techniques such as mica ground printing. The print is from an untitled group of four portraits of beauties presented in a dramatic outdoor setting that are among the most reproduced and coveted works in all of the ukiyo-e genre. The designs are distinctive in the way that Choki positions the figure off to the side, roughly occupying only two-thirds of the composition. In this print we see a beauty pausing beneath an open umbrella which shields her from the fat flakes of falling snow, shimmering (or shivering) against a cold mica background. She leans on the back of her burly servant who is bending over, reaching beyond the frame of the composition to clean the clumps of heavy wet snow off of her geta.  Although they are a study in contrasts, she is lovely and delicate, he is solid with rough whiskers on his face, Choki conveys a sense of quiet intimacy shared between the two.

An example of a lavish printing is by Hosoda Eishi (1756–1829), Selection of Beauties from the Pleasure Quarters: Hanamurasaki of the Tamaya in Procession (15 by 10 inches), which utilizes both an incredibly dramatic dark mica background as well as metallic printing on the hem of the sauntering courtesan, Hanamurasaki. This design was formerly in the esteemed collection of the French connoisseur Henri Vever (1854–1942) and was the subject of extensive research by the American collector Louis V. Ledoux (1880–1948), who had a variant impression which he identified as a later state of the print. His research led him to conclude that there may have been four states of this scarce print, of which this (the Vever impression) is the earliest and (he thought) one of only three extant examples. Current research clarifies that this one is one of only two recorded impressions of the earliest version of the print.

Another development in print production was the issuance of multi-panel prints- most typically in the format of triptychs.  One of the most stunning works in the show which shares the Vever Collection provenance is a triptych by a student of Eishi, Chokosai Eisho (fl. ca. 1795–1801) titled A Glimpse of the Ogiya: Hashidate, Nanakoshi and Hanabito (triptych 15 by 28 inches). This breath-taking composition presents three beautiful women who are seated in a brothel reception room decorated with an elaborate painting of a peacock covering the background wall. The three women are identified from right to left as the well-known and high-ranking courtesans: Hashidate, Nanakoshi, and Hanabito. The title places them at the Ogiya brothel located in the Yoshiwara. All three courtesans worked at the Ogiya and seem to be engrossed in a private conversation away from their customers. Perhaps they are sharing an amusing story related to the folded love letter which Hashidate is handing to Nanakoshi. There are few copies of this triptych extant and almost all are now in museum collections.

The bijin-ga of ukiyo-e were represented by beautiful women and beautiful men, and kabuki actors enjoyed celebrity-worship that would surely resonate with that of today. The Bachofen Collection includes three prints depicting kabuki actors, including a powerful bust-portrait by Utagawa Kunimasa (1773–1810), Actor Ichikawa Yaozo III as a Bandit (15 by 10 inches). This intense okubi-e portrait of Ichikawa Yaozo III (Suketakaya Takasuke II, 1747–1818) shows the actor in the role of a yamagatsu (lumberjack), who is actually a legendary warrior in disguise. The print was made at the time of Yaozo’s performance in a play that was staged at the Miyako-za theater in the 11th lunar month of 1796. The artist Kunimasa died at the young age of only 37 with approximately 125 recorded designs with few impressions extant. Of the four known examples of this print, this is the only one currently in private hands.

The Bachofen Collection has several highly important works by Kitagawa Utamaro (1753–1806), arguably the leading painting and print artist of his time who practically owned the market for images of beauties in the 1790s and early 1800s, until his untimely death in 1806 which marks the close of the ‘golden age’ period. In most ukiyo-e collections just one of these works would be the treasured highlight, in this collection there are nine Utamaro prints, including three okubi-e (‘big head’ or bust portraits) and one half-length portrait, each one a masterpiece in and of itself.

Kitagawa Utamaro, Seven Women Applying Make-up before a Full-length Mirror (Sugatami shichinin kesho), signed Utamaro ga with censor’s seal kiwame (approved) publisher’s mark of Tsutaya Juzaburo (Koshodo), sealed Wakai Hayashi, and oval WS (Schindler) collector’s seal on verso, ca. 1792–93. The title indicates this print is one from an intended series of seven, although only this one design is recorded.

The earliest Utamaro print in the exhibition is a compositional tour-de-force. Dated to around 1792–93, the print, Seven Women Applying Make-up Before a Full-length Mirror (14 1/4 by 9 1/2 inches), was issued at the beginning of a productive period for Utamaro during which he designed a number of ambitious half-length and bust portrait images of beauties primarily in collaboration with the publisher Tsutaya. The title in the bookmark-shaped cartouche indicates this print is one from an intended series of seven, although only this one design is recorded.  While the term ‘sugatami’ in the title refers to a full-length mirror, the composition is that of a reflection of a bust portrait of a beauty as seen from over her shoulder. The effect is to both share her gaze into the mirror, while simultaneously appreciating her coiffure from behind as well as a titillating view of her erikubi (the nape of her neck). Her facial features and the crest on her kimono suggest that this is a portrait of one of Utamaro’s favorite subjects, the teahouse waitress Naniwa Okita. Tsutaya spared no expense with this production, generously embellishing the print with mica both on the background and on the mirror. The red seal to the left of the signature sheds light on the print’s provenance of having been in the hands of Wakai Kenzaburo (1834–1908), a highly influential Japanese art dealer and collector who was vital to the formation of ukiyo-e collections in Paris in the 1870s and 1880s. Wakai’s seal confirms that this exact impression was illustrated in Dr. Julius Kurth’s 1907 monograph on Utamaro (the first in a European language) when it was in the hands of Rex & Co in Berlin, an early importer of Asian art; it then passed into the hands of Werner Schindler (1905–1986) of Bienne, Switzerland. Highlights from the Schindler Collection were exhibited in several cities in Japan in 1985, and this print was illustrated on the cover of the exhibition catalogue.

In about 1792–93, the publisher Tsutaya began producing print series by Utamaro depicting half-length portraits of beauties with glittering full-mica backgrounds. These lavish images elevated print production to new aesthetic heights, establishing both Utamaro and Tsutaya as pre-eminent ukiyo-e artist and publisher, respectively. The portrait of Wakaume of the Tamaya in Edo-machi itchome, kamuro Mumeno and Iroka (14 1/2 by 9 5/8 inches) is dated to around 1793–94 and is associated with a group of three portraits that were likely intended as an informal triptych, each featuring a courtesan identified in the title cartouche with her house and naming her two kamuro (child attendants) with an accompanying kyoka poem. Of the three designs, this composition functions best at the central panel because the figure’s body faces one way while she turns to look in the opposite direction, and one of her kamuro peeks out from behind in a rare instance of frontal portraiture. The courtesan is Wakaume of the zashiki-mochi (‘having her own suite’) rank of the Tamaya house, and two kamuro, Mumeno and Iroka, are mentioned in the cartouche along with a poem playing on the literal meaning of her name, Wakaume, or White Plum.

The ca. 1795–96 bust portrait, Painting the Eyebrows (15 by 10 inches), is another masterpiece by Utamaro included in this group. It depicts a beauty leaning forward in concentration while applying make-up to her eyebrows. We catch a glimpse of her reflection from another angle in her hand-mirror, which is highlighted with mica to suggest the polished surface. This print was produced by a rather small publishing house, Isemago, about whom very little is known, which may explain why this design is extremely scarce. Of the three recorded impressions of this design, this is the only one currently in private hands.

The final Utamaro okubi-e in the exhibition is a delightful portrait of the famous courtesan Komurasaki of the Tamaya House after a Bath (15 by 10 inches) from around 1797–99. The portrait is of the famous courtesan Komurasaki, who held the highest rank of yobidashi (‘on call’), which meant she only could be seen by making an appointment through a teahouse, the same rank as her ‘house sister’ Hanamurasaki featured in the full-length mica-ground print by Eishi. This print bears the collector’s seal of the artist Paul Blondeau (ca. 1860–1920) and was later in the collection of Charles Haviland (1839–1921), which was sold in Paris in 1922. This print is one of only two recorded impressions of this design.

The exhibition will feature twenty-two woodblock prints including works by major ukiyo-e artists such as: Kitao Shigemasa (1739–1820), Torii Kiyonaga (1752–1815), Katsukawa Shuncho (fl. ca. 1780–1795),  Eishosai Choki (fl. ca. 1780–1809), Hosoda Eishi (1756–1829), Chokosai Eisho (fl. ca. 1795–1801), Chokyosai Eiri (fl. ca. 1795–1800), Ichirakutei Eisui (fl. ca. 1795–1803), Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769–1825), Katsukawa Shunei (1762–1819), and Kitagawa Utamaro (1753–1806).

Katherine Martin, Highlights of Japanese Printmaking: Part Six, The Baron J. Bachofen von Echt Collection of Golden Age Ukiyo-e (2020), $40.

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Note (added 17 March 2020)— The original posting did not include the link to the press release posted at Art Daily.