Featured Articles

A Closer Look: Yorimasa and the Nue

From vengeful spirits to mischievous monsters, ukiyo-e teem with supernatural beings and spine-chilling tales. With Halloween upon us, we turn to one such tale–the story of Yorimasa and the nue–as told by two masters of the fearsome and fantastic, Kuniyoshi and Yoshitoshi. The nue is a chimeral monster with the head of a monkey, the body of a badger (or tanuki), the legs of a tiger, and a hissing snake as a tail, depending on the source.

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Katsukawa: Early Masters of Kabuki Portraiture

Ronin Gallery invites you to step into the theatrical world of 18th-century kabuki. Katsukawa: Early Masters of Kabuki Portraiture presents the brightest stars of the kabuki stage through the eyes of the artists of the Katsukawa School. Named for its founder, Shunsho Katsukawa, this artistic lineage redefined the field of actor prints (yakusha-e) in the late 18th century.

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Q+A with Sarah Brayer

Sarah Brayer is an internationally acclaimed artist who works in print and paper mediums. This May, we took a moment to catch up with her about her recent solo exhibition Inner Light at Kyoto’s Komyo-in Temple, her Luminosity series, and her latest book project.

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Spirit of the Stage: The Theatrical Prints of Kokei Tsuruya

In Spirit of the Stage: Kokei Tsuruya, we explore the career and artistic process of the woodblock print artist and modern master of actor portraiture, Kokei Tsuruya.

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Meet the Artist: Noriko Shinohara

Noriko Shinohara's work brings together boldness of color, line, and persistent humor. Instilling her work with irony and poignancy, her contemporary scenes draw inspiration from a variety of art styles across time and culture. Born in Toyama Prefecture, Japan in 1953, Noriko Shinohara moved to New York City in 1972 to study at the Art Students League.

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What Makes a Print Rare?

If woodblock prints were produced in multiple, how can a print be rare? From natural disasters to the damage of use, the woodblock prints that exist today have beat the odds. With this in mind, all existing woodblock prints are rare. Yet, there are certain combinations of artist, printing technique, design, and condition that set certain impressions apart from the rest. We look to the collection for several examples of true rarity.

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Contemporary Talents of Japan 2017

From unique woodblock prints to vivacious ink paintings, the second annual Contemporary Talents of Japan exhibition explores Japan's diverse artistic vanguard. Featuring Katsutoshi Yuasa, the 2017 winner of the Ronin|Globus Artist-in-Residence Program, this exhibition considers an enduring aesthetic in the contemporary imagination.

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Hiroshige: 53 Stations of the Upright Tokaido

Winding along the eastern coast of Japan, the Tokaido was the most traveled road of the Edo period. Cutting across rivers and mountains, this artery pulsed with folklore, politics, artistic inspiration, and insatiable zeal for adventure.

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Reflecting the Spirit: Shiko Munakata (1903-1975)

Munakata and the Disciples of Buddha invites you to experience the woodblock prints of Shiko Munakata (1903–1975) and to discover the Buddhist roots of Japanese woodblock printing. Culminating in his iconic series Ten Great Disciples of the Buddha, this exhibition explores the vital interplay of artistic tradition and religious practice behind Munakata’s groundbreaking work.

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What is Kawaii?

While often translated to "cute," in English, this translation of kawaii is a misnomer. So what exactly is kawaii? Where did this idea originate? Kawaii is an influential and subversive culture in dialogue with centuries of Japanese popular culture. For artist Sebastian Masuda, the kawaii spirit is akin to that of the punk or hippie movement, a rebellion against the norms and standards of mainstream culture.

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True Colors: Sebastian Masuda

In his second New York exhibition, Sebastian Masuda invites his viewer to trade the grayscale of daily life for a movingly vibrant spectrum of color. Through dynamic multimedia collages, this truly immersive exhibition extols Masuda's message of "colorful rebellion" against the gray, dark, and disharmony of the world.

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Then and Now: Hiroshige's Landscapes

As a master of the landscape print, Hiroshige captures Edo-period Japan through series such as One Hundred Famous Views of Edo and Famous Views of the 60-Odd Provinces. How have these famous places fared as destinations in the 21st century? Looking to four prints from the exhibition Hiroshige's Landscapes, let's check in.

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Momijigari Season

As summer days cool and the sweet smell of turning leaves fills the air, autumn is undoubtedly upon us. While spring in Japan brings the delicate pink of the cherry blossoms, autumn bursts into a kaleidoscope of brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows. Such stunning natural beauty is celebrated with momijigari.

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Considering Condition: When Can a Negative Become a Positive?

How many of the traits that traditionally depreciate a print's value actually preserved the work's overall value?

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Demimonde: The Floating World and Toulouse-Lautrec

From masterworks of ukiyo-e, to Toulouse-Lautrec's large-scale posters and Le Café Concert set, the exhibition Demimonde: The Floating World and Toulouse-Lautrec invites you to explore the parallel demimondes of fin-de-siècle Paris and Edo-period Japan.

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A Closer Look: Moon Above the Sea at Daimotsu Bay

For this closer look, we'll turn our attention to Yoshitoshi's "Moon Above the Sea at Daimotsu Bay" (1886) from the famed series One Hundred Views of the Moon.

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What is Sosaku Hanga?

In the early 20th century, two distinct modern Japanese print movements emerged. The Sosaku Hanga movement honed in on the artist and the process of making. The knife, the ink, the block, the paper—each material was integral to the artist's experience. This emphasis on the individual and artistic autonomy matured throughout the movement and continues to course throughout the Japanese printmaking community today.

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Decoding Ukiyo-e: Standard Sizes

While ukiyo-e were printed in a variety of sizes, each format adhered to a standardized sizing system shaped by both technical and social factors. This determination begins with two of the primary materials of woodblock printing: the woodblock and the paper.

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The Rise of Japanese Post-War Photography

Over the past decade, the influence of Japanese photography has swept the art market. This thriving market focuses on post-war photographers, largely active between the late 1950s and the 1970s. The avant-garde group working during these years tore away from the dominant journalistic tradition of Japanese photography to create raw, subjective images of the world around them.

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The Great Wave: Contemporary Talents of Japan

Held in conjunction with the inaugural Ronin|Globus Artist-in-Residence Program, the exhibition The Great Wave: Images to Support Japan Society's Japan Earthquake Relief Fund spans a wide range of media and mindsets. Featuring Keisuke "OZ" Yamaguchi, this exhibition presents diverse reactions to defining moments in contemporary life: Japan's recent earthquakes and the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

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A World Between - The Life of Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)

Regarded as the last of the great masters of ukiyo-e, Yoshitoshi worked during this era of dramatic cultural and economic transformation. Through his stunning woodblock prints, he made sense of a transitioning world with a familiar medium. His work expresses the pervasive atmosphere of uncertainty that plagued his country and exorcises the demons of social and political upheaval.

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Japonisme: The Great Wave

The 1867 Paris Exposition Universelle exposed many Europeans to Japan for the first time. From subjects to style, Japanese prints had a profound impact on French printmaking at the turn of the century.

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The Pleasures of Love: What Can We Learn from Shunga?

From wild passion and forbidden forays to humorous sexual fumbles and head-scratching acrobatics, the erotic genre of shunga, (lit. "spring pictures") celebrates sensual pleasure in every imaginable form.

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Shunga: A Titillating Treasure

Shunga, or "spring pictures," capture a vast spectrum of sensual pleasures. From the passionate reunions of great lovers, to the excitement of clandestine affairs, these erotic prints satisfy a wide range of sexual appetites.

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