Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/74

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JAPANESE COLOUR-PRINTS

insight into the Japanese point of view. The series of reproductions entitled Kokkwa, which has been publishing at Tokio since 1890, attains a much smaller circulation, in spite of being far more magnificent still. The catalogues of the Paris Loan-Exhibition in the École des Beaux-Arts, 1890 (with an introduction by Bing), and of the Burty Collection, 1891 (with an introduction by Leroux), competently initiated the collectors of Paris into the province of the wood-engravings, hitherto unknown to all but a few. In 1891 Goncourt published his book on Utamaro, the first monograph devoted to a Japanese artist, and followed it up in 1896 by his book on Hokusai, which provoked a good deal of recrimination, as it was based on materials which a Japanese had originally collected on commission for Bing, but fraudulently disposed of a second time, whereby Bing was anticipated by Goncourt and prevented from carrying out his plan of publishing a monograph on Hokusai. Muther's widely read Geschichte der Malerei im XIX. Jahrhundert contributed its share to popularising the Japanese wood-engraving in Germany, but, owing to the shortness of the chapter in question and the smallness of the reproductions, could convey no more than a very general notion of the subject. A better result was achieved by Anderson's popular work on Japanese Wood-Engraving (Portfolio, 1895), with its very serviceable illustrations.

Finally, the beginning of the year 1896 saw the knowledge of Japanese wood-engraving enter on a fresh and presumably final phase by the publication of Fenollosa's exhaustive Catalogue of the "Masters of Ukiyoye" Exhibition in New York, a work which combines full mastery of the materials with artistic freedom, vigour of style, and the minutest penetration into every detail. This catalogue, which expressly excludes all historical information, comprises a description of some 400 selected wood-engravings, arranged in their presumable chrono-