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Hokusai's Mount Fuji: The Complete Views in Color [Hardcover]

Jocelyn Bouquillard


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Book Description

June 1 2007
This complete collection of Hokusai’s famous views of Mount Fuji is the only high-quality reproduction of these engravings, long considered the Japanese master’s greatest works. Taken from the best engravings available and shown in splendid color, this authoritative volume is the first of its kind since 1830. Hokusai’s influence extended far beyond Japan, even to French Impressionists including Degas, Monet, and Toulouse-Lautrec. Each illustration is accopmanied by detailed notes placing the work in its cultural and historical context and exploring the symbolic themes running through Hokusai’s landscapes.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (June 1 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810993406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810993402
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 27.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 839 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #537,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Jocelyn Bouquillard is curator at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in the Photography and Prints department. He is an expert in Japanese prints and his specialty is in landscape prints.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hokusai in direct form Jan. 6 2009
By N. H. Hubbard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book represents a somewhat unusual presentation of the set of hokusai prints of Mount Fuji. Unusual to this reader, for two reasons. First, in most books that reproduce these and other japanese prints each print is presented in the same size/page format, with a white border. In this case, the prints are in some cases presented with white border, some are bled to the paper edge top bottom and sides, and others are presented as a band across the page with white above and below and the side margin bled to the edge. This format does help to focus on the content of the images which has some benefits. On the other hand, it is not necessarily clear that the entirety of every print is completely reproduced. The second unusual element is that the originals from which these prints are taken, appear to have more flaws or be less clear prints than would be expected. Many have indications of damage such as a crease or faint line vertically through the middle which I have not seen in other books of reproductions of such prints. The prints also are in many cases quite blurred - such as print number 18, which is shown in an enlarged detail on pages 54/55. Other prints are of excellent quality,and well reproduced - such as print 32. Overal, this set of prints compares quite poorly with other books of Japanese prints such as Sebastian Izzards "Sixy-nine stations of the Kisokaido" (Hiroshige/Eisen)
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous presentations of beloved classics Dec 16 2007
By wiredweird - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Hokusai's prints can be enjoyed in many ways. Simply as samples of the woodcut artist's craft, these are spectacular samples. More than once, the editor presents enlargements of some part of a print. They show the lovingly detailed flow of a horse's tail (p.95), or complex texture of reeds in a rice field (p.54-55). These minutiae take on extra meaning when you remember that each is incised into a plank, with the space carved out from between the visible lines. This book's beautiful printing helps the viewer appreciate not just the technical feat of aligning so many colored blocks in making one print, or in creating the delicate gradients of sky and water. It also helps the reader to appreciate Hokusai's layered composition and to walk along the path that leads into the depths of each image.

This also makes several statements about Japanese culture, from the humble pit-saw workers (p.57) and rice millers to elegant geishas or daimyo and his retinue. Behind all the bustle of life or terror of the seas (as in the famous "Great Wave"), there stands Mt. Fuji. Silent and eternal, it's almost hidden in many of the pictures. I've never seen Fuji in person, but it reminds me of Mt. Rainier as seen from the Seattle area - it seems to pop from nowhere as I turn a corner, looming and massive despite its distance. And, like the many views of Fuji shown here, Ranier looks different with every angle and every shift of light or weather. Hokusai conveys all that variability, permanence, and immanence, but also conveys a reverence for Fuji that a Western mind can't wholly encompass.

Brief descriptions help identify each scene and comment on its composition without dominating the imagery. I recommend this highly, as a segment of Hojusai's ouvre, as a world class sample of print-making, or just as a book of pictures.

-- wiredweird
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just right Aug. 6 2009
By Booklover - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I looked at a lot of reviews before buying this book. I wanted one that had all the views together, in color, and that's what I got. The text that accompanies each picture gives helpful information about that picture, without distracting from it. Great book. Exactly what I was hoping for.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IMAGES OF THE FLOATING WORLD Oct. 11 2010
By Steve Wyzard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
While many people with even a brief exposure to Asian art are familiar with Hokusai's The Great Wave and Red Fuji, far fewer have been exposed to the entire series of prints that helped inspire a worldwide fascination with all things Japanese. The publication of Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji (1829-33) and its 10 supplementary additions (1834) brought the Japanese landscape print to a new level of mastery and influence that is still being felt today. Now with Hokusai's Mount Fuji: The Complete Views in Color, one can take the solemn journey through the 46 landscapes of a vanished world that to this day affect how Japan and its people are perceived by the Western world.

Looking through the entire series of plates (each with concise commentaries), one immediately notices how the eye is instantly drawn to the iconic shape of Mount Fuji, which appears in different sizes and locations. From this one fixed focal point, the rest of the picture can be taken in, understood, and personally interpreted. Under luminous, multi-colored skies, Hokusai reproduces landscapes and architecture with mind-bogglingly intricate detail. One also notices how relatively insignificant the human figures (even when depicted in the foreground) appear when compared with their milieu, almost as if their placement is coincidental and only included for realistic accuracy. People appear more prominently in the later prints, but even then are mostly shown with their backs to the viewer, looking away indifferently, or with faces obscured by hats. Nature, weather, light, atmosphere, and the omnipresent form of Mount Fuji dominate each picture's panorama. In five instances, the print has been greatly enlarged to show more detail. Beyond a preface and three brief introductory essays, this book provides very little verbage, allowing the prints to speak for themselves. The commentaries are helpful in drawing the viewer's attention to details they might have missed, but thankfully are not integral to one's enjoyment of this book.

The plates reproduced in this book are taken from three collections in the French National Library. We're told that the finest impressions have been selected, but picky purchasers should be forewarned that no reproduction (especially one from over a century ago) is perfect, and smudges, creases, printing blotches, and fold-marks can be seen on almost every page. While readily apparent, these miniscule distractions did not ruin the book for this reader. One reproduction quibble I would like to raise involves borders: some of the prints have a complete white border on all four sides, some have a white border at the top and bottom only, and some take up the entire page and bleed over onto the facing page. I have no idea what influenced these artistic-editorial decisions, but they do not interfere with the viewer's enjoyment. While a little more uniformity would have been appreciated, I can still highly recommend this wonderful book to those who enjoy Japanese landscape art/ukiyo-e.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars User-friendly documentation Aug. 9 2010
By miles - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Concise, but detailed info on the facing pages, corresponding with the masterpieces shown in full-color and high quality. Informative, chic, and sensible, and wow: what a beauty.

Highly recommended.

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