Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Utagawa Kuniyoshi

A Harvard law professor and sometime television presenter, Miller discovered Kuniyoshi in London while appearing as one of the sparring barristers in the popular 1980s television series Hypotheticals. "I had been impressed by some prints I'd seen in a friend's apartment and I wandered into a London gallery in a casual way. I looked through several hundred prints, and the ones I responded to were all by Kuniyoshi – they had extraordinary power expressed through colour."
This first encounter led to a 30‑year obsession that saw Miller build up the biggest Kuniyoshi collection in the world – which he is now giving to the British Museum through its not-for-profit organisation American Friends – and which forms the basis of the Royal Academy's exhibition.
Now, through Professor Miller's gift, we have the last and most vibrant flowering of this extraordinary tradition in its richest and most pristine form. But why didn't he choose a US institution for this magnificent gesture? "I've always wanted to see the collection exhibited and researched, and the British Museum, unlike American museums, doesn't sell or trade donated works.
"In London my collection will be permanently available for research and viewing. And as a scholar myself, I really appreciate that."
more here
I managed to catch this last week, really bloody brilliant. I will be paying it a second visit after Easter. Catch it if you can

1 comment:

susan said...

I've collected copies of Japanese woodblock prints for a long time and have particularly like Hiroshige. You've reminded me of the very rare sightings of Kuniyoshi's magnificent ability with form and colour. I'm glad to know the collection was left to the British Museum where it will be treated with respect.