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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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Utagawa Kuniyoshi actor as Takechi Mitsuhide Old to Antique Japanese Woodblock Print
Jun 15, 12:00 PM EDT
Utagawa Kuniyoshi actor as Takechi Mitsuhide Old to Antique Japanese Woodblock Print
by Hess Fine Art
Est: $50- $250
$705 Bids
A Group of Seven Japanese Color Woodblock Prints
Jun 19, 9:00 AM PDT
A Group of Seven Japanese Color Woodblock Prints
by Abell Auction
Est: $300- $400
$4505 Bids
Kitagawa Utamaro Immortal Qin Gao Old to Antique Japanese Woodblock Print
Jun 15, 12:00 PM EDT
Kitagawa Utamaro Immortal Qin Gao Old to Antique Japanese Woodblock Print
by Hess Fine Art
Est: $50- $250
$1004 Bids
Japanese woodblock Print Ando Hiroshige
Jun 15, 11:00 AM PDT
Japanese woodblock Print Ando Hiroshige
by Woodblock Prints World
Est: $400- $500
$3253 Bids
Japanese woodblock Print Hiroshi Yoshida
Jun 15, 11:00 AM PDT
Japanese woodblock Print Hiroshi Yoshida
by Woodblock Prints World
Est: $200- $300
$1803 Bids
Hiroshi Yoshida Himeji Castle Old to Antique Japanese Woodblock Print
Jun 15, 12:00 PM EDT
Hiroshi Yoshida Himeji Castle Old to Antique Japanese Woodblock Print
by Hess Fine Art
Est: $50- $250
$603 Bids
Japanese woodblock Print Kiyoshi Saito
Jun 15, 11:00 AM PDT
Japanese woodblock Print Kiyoshi Saito
by Woodblock Prints World
Est: $160- $200
$1803 Bids
HOKUSAI (1760-1849), woodblock print Mount Fuji and the river Tama, 19th century
Jun 16, 11:00 AM CEST
HOKUSAI (1760-1849), woodblock print Mount Fuji and the river Tama, 19th century
by Maison Jules Veilinghuis
Est: €200- €400
€3003 Bids
Yoshida, Toshi(1911-1995)
Jun 22, 10:30 AM PDT
Yoshida, Toshi(1911-1995)
by Turner Auctions + Appraisals
Est: $300- $500
$2002 Bids
UTAGAWA KUNISADA (TOYOKUNI III) (1785-1864)
Jun 28, 11:00 AM EDT
UTAGAWA KUNISADA (TOYOKUNI III) (1785-1864)
by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries
Est: $300- $400
$1752 Bids
Ansei Uchima (1922-2000), Descending Moon, Woodblock
Jun 27, 10:00 AM EDT
Ansei Uchima (1922-2000), Descending Moon, Woodblock
by Everard Auctions and Appraisals
Est: $100- $200
$602 Bids
Man Woman Diptych Old to Antique Japanese Woodblock Print
Jun 15, 12:00 PM EDT
Man Woman Diptych Old to Antique Japanese Woodblock Print
by Hess Fine Art
Est: $50- $250
$202 Bids
TADASHI NAKAYAMA, TWO WOODBLOCK PRINTS OF HORSES SIGNED T. NAKAYAMA, C 1970
Jun 18, 11:00 AM EDT
TADASHI NAKAYAMA, TWO WOODBLOCK PRINTS OF HORSES SIGNED T. NAKAYAMA, C 1970
by Kamelot Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$1502 Bids
Japanese woodblock Print Ando Hiroshige
Jun 15, 11:00 AM PDT
Japanese woodblock Print Ando Hiroshige
by Woodblock Prints World
Est: $600- $800
$3252 Bids
TADASHI ASOMA (1923-2017), JAPANESE ART
Jun 25, 10:00 AM CEST
TADASHI ASOMA (1923-2017), JAPANESE ART
by Historia Auctionata
Est: €0- €0
€1602 Bids
Yoshiiku UTAGAWA (1833-1904)
Jun 22, 10:30 AM PDT
Yoshiiku UTAGAWA (1833-1904)
by Turner Auctions + Appraisals
Est: $150- $250
$902 Bids
Japanese woodblock Print Kawase Hasui
Jun 15, 11:00 AM PDT
Japanese woodblock Print Kawase Hasui
by Woodblock Prints World
Est: $400- $500
$2002 Bids
Hasui KAWASE (1883-1957)
Jun 22, 10:30 AM PDT
Hasui KAWASE (1883-1957)
by Turner Auctions + Appraisals
Est: $200- $400
$1752 Bids
Hiroshi Yoshida Spring in a Hot Spring Old to Antique Japanese Woodblock Print
Jun 15, 12:00 PM EDT
Hiroshi Yoshida Spring in a Hot Spring Old to Antique Japanese Woodblock Print
by Hess Fine Art
Est: $50- $250
$302 Bids
Japanese Woodblock Prints
Jul 06, 10:00 AM EDT
Japanese Woodblock Prints
by Copake Auction Inc.
Est: $75- $100
$702 Bids
Goro Kumagai Limited Edition Woodblock Print
Jun 15, 10:00 AM MST
Goro Kumagai Limited Edition Woodblock Print
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$352 Bids
HOKUSAI, KATSUCHIKA (1760-1849). EHON AZUMA ASOBI
Jun 19, 7:00 PM CEST
HOKUSAI, KATSUCHIKA (1760-1849). EHON AZUMA ASOBI
by Zwiggelaar Auctions
Est: €150- €300
€3202 Bids
[SHUNGA] TERASAKI KOGYO (1866-1919). (1) COUPLE MAKING LOVE
Jun 19, 7:00 PM CEST
[SHUNGA] TERASAKI KOGYO (1866-1919). (1) COUPLE MAKING LOVE
by Zwiggelaar Auctions
Est: €100- €200
€1002 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Japanese Prints


Woodblock Prints World

Woodblock Prints World

Turner Auctions + Appraisals

Turner Auctions + Appraisals

Kunsthaus Lempertz KG

Kunsthaus Lempertz KG