Living for the Moment
Japanese Prints from the Barbara S. Bowman Collection
Spanning the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the exquisite examples of Japanese prints included in this book offer insights into the history of an art form and vision that is distinctively Japanese and was highly inspirational to later European painters.
Polychrome prints, or ukiyo-e, first appeared in Japan in the late 18th century. Delicately hued and intricate, they depicted landscapes, scenes, and figures that epitomized the country’s idea of “the floating world”: a place whose denizens lived for the moment and appreciated the pleasures of the natural world. This volume surveys the prominent Barbara S. Bowman collection of prints notable for a number of reasons: an excellently preserved print of Lucky Dream for the New Year: Mount Fuji, Falcon, and Eggplants by Suzuki Harunobu; a number of surimono, or privately published prints that were created with unusually luxurious materials; and numerous works by Hiroshige and Hokusai, who are considered the masters of the art form. Each of the over one hundred prints in this book is reproduced in large color plates that highlight their subtle beauty and charm and are accompanied by extensive analysis of the pieces’ remarkable qualities. This comprehensive overview of the collection by LACMA curator Hollis Goodall addresses the significance and history of the Bowman collection and the many ways it enhances the museum’s extensive holdings of Japanese art.