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Japanese Prints

Japanese prints, particularly Japanese woodblock prints, have been highly coveted works of art since their creation. They are beloved for their use of the whole spectrum of colors and extraordinary detail on paper made from the inner wood of a mulberry tree.

The creation of Japanese woodblock prints is intriguing in that it requires four people. One artist renders the design of the image, one engraver carves the image into wood, a printer uses the woodblocks to stamp each individual color to compose the image, and a publisher oversees the initial idea of the image and then markets it. While a print may have its own individual differences, once an image is carved into a woodblock, it can be printed thousands of times.

Many painters found inspiration in the innovative stylization and use of space within Japanese prints. They exhibited significant influence in Western Impressionist and Modern art.


Quick Facts

  • Despite the level of skill of all members of the printmaking process, it is usually only the publisher’s name that appears on the print
  • Each color of a Japanese print needs to be carved on a different block of wood. This process of carving and stamping the image with exact precision requires tremendous skill, time, and patience
  • Japanese prints have not always been coveted collector’s items. They were once commonplace items and often overlooked; Impressionist painter Claude Monet, for example, first encountered a Japanese print when it was being used as wrapping paper

Recommended Items at Auction

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A collection of sixteen Japanese woodblock prints,
Dec 07, 10:00 AM GMT
A collection of sixteen Japanese woodblock prints,
by Cheffins
Est: £200- £400
£75011 Bids
Great Japanese Block Print signed Kawase Hasui
Dec 04, 10:00 AM CST
Great Japanese Block Print signed Kawase Hasui
by Thriftiques of Iowa
Est: $10- $1,000
$4105 Bids
Ryohei Tanaka (Japanese, 1933-2019) Etching
Dec 11, 10:00 AM CST
Ryohei Tanaka (Japanese, 1933-2019) Etching
by Leonard Auction
Est: $300- $500
$2755 Bids
UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI, DAIKAKU INUMURA
Dec 08, 10:00 AM CET
UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI, DAIKAKU INUMURA
by Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf
Est: €300- €600
€5005 Bids
Japanese Woodcut
Dec 09, 6:00 PM EST
Japanese Woodcut
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$154 Bids
Group of Nine Unframed Japanese Block Prints
Dec 06, 10:00 AM EST
Group of Nine Unframed Japanese Block Prints
by Weschler's
Est: $30- $50
$454 Bids
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Toko Shinoda WIND SHADOW Hand-colored lithograph, framed
Dec 08, 10:00 AM EST
Toko Shinoda WIND SHADOW Hand-colored lithograph, framed
by Doyle New York
Est: $800- $1,200
$5503 Bids
Ryohei Tanaka. Japanese. 1973 etching of a thatched roof with barren trees. Numbered 39/100 in
Dec 04, 10:00 AM EST
Ryohei Tanaka. Japanese. 1973 etching of a thatched roof with barren trees. Numbered 39/100 in
by Tremont Auctions
Est: $250- $350
$2253 Bids
Tanaka Ryohei (Japanese, 1933-2019)
Dec 14, 10:00 AM EST
Tanaka Ryohei (Japanese, 1933-2019)
by Material Culture
Est: $150- $300
$752 Bids
Japanese Samurai print, Toshusai Sharaku, circa 1900,
Dec 07, 10:00 AM GMT
Japanese Samurai print, Toshusai Sharaku, circa 1900,
by Cheffins
Est: £80- £120
£601 Bid
UTAGAWA KUNISADA I, ZWEI GRUPPE GENJI-E
Dec 08, 10:00 AM CET
UTAGAWA KUNISADA I, ZWEI GRUPPE GENJI-E
by Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf
Est: €320- €640
€3001 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Japanese Prints


Eldred's

Eldred's

Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf

Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf

Heritage Auctions

Heritage Auctions

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida