09 Jun 2017

Fifty-Three Stations of the Upright Tokaido

Ronin Gallery

Reviewed by Michael Stiefel

Hiroshige's "Upright Tōkaidō" series, depicting the rest stations on the coast road between Tokyo and Kyoto, transformed what were inexpensive souvenirs into art. The 38th image depicts travelers descending into Fujikawa on a snowy night.

Using bokashi, he imbued a sense of depth in the sky. The tree and the huts form an arch over the voyagers and frame the path. The night and the snow, rendered with a minimal use of color and line, create a feeling of peacefulness and intimacy.

The portrayal of everyday life, simplicity of design, and clear color of Japanese prints provided confirmation for the Impressionists that they were on the right track. Nostalgia for the countryside, or for better times and places, often strikes us when looking at these ukiyo-e images. In fact, that is what made them so popular with the original Japanese buyers, city dwellers longing for an imagined, vanished past.

Exhibition Fifty-Three Stations of the Upright Tokaido link
Start date 02 May 2017
End date 10 Jun 2017
Presenter Ronin Gallery link
Venue 425 Madison Avenue, 3rd Floor, New York City, NY, USA (southeast corner of 49th Street) map
Image Hiroshige, Fujikawa, from The 53 Stations of the Tokaido, 1855, woodblock print, 14 x 9.25 inches, courtesy of Ronin Gallery

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