Hiroshige: Nature and the City is the most extensive overview of the career of the famed Japanese print artist, Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) in the English language to date. It is based on the largest collection of Hiroshige in private hands outside Japan, the Alan Medaugh collection.
The catalogue consists of 500 entries, with an emphasis on urban and rural landscapes, fan prints and prints of birds and flowers. Grouped chronologically by subject it presents Hiroshige’s interpretation of the urban scenes from his hometown Edo (present-day Tokyo), the great series documenting travel along the famous highways of Japan, and the idylls of nature as represented in his bird-andflower prints.
Hiroshige often incorporated poetry in his works and for the first time all textual content is transcribed and translated. Additionally, the catalogue pays due attention to the differences between variant editions of his prints. Thus, it provides essential comparative material for every scholar, dealer, and collector.
Five essays precede the catalogue section, each written by specialists in the field. Rhiannon Paget (Curator of Asian Art at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art) provides a general introduction to Hiroshige’s life and career. Andreas Marks (Curator Minneapolis Museum of Art) contributes two essays: on the publishers of Hiroshige’s prints and on Hiroshige’s collaborative works designed with his colleagues. Shiho Sasaki (conservation specialist at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco) discusses the pigment use in Hiroshige’s prints while John Carpenter (Curator of Japanese Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art) investigates the source of the poetry of Hiroshige bird-and-flower prints.