Work shown in this gallery is made by folks who live (or have lived) in Lyme, NH or Thetford, VT. This means folks who have work in this gallery are connected through a quality unique to this particular part of the Upper Valley. We are connected by place. Consider a visit, you may find it quite wonderful how diverse and interesting an assemblage of such local voices can be.
We represent one exception to our rule of residency for the gallery. This is our offering of kabuki actor prints by the Japanese print designer Utagawa Kunisada (1789 - 1865). We focus especially on print designs Kunisada made in the early 1850's, especially in the year 1852.
Why Kunisada? This gallery is owned and operated by Matt Brown who makes color woodblock prints using the Japanese hanga method. This is the same multiple block, all by hand, technique used to make the ukiyo-e prints of the 19th century, including these by Kunisada. Originally inspired by an exhibit of Hiroshige prints at Dartmouth College's Hood Museum, Matt now thinks of Kunisada as a his teacher and mentor.
During his lifetime Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III) earned popularity and success exceeding that of the now more familiar print designers such as Hokusai, Utamaro, and Hiroshige. Recent scholarship is leading to a re-discovery of his work. He was astoundingly prolific however, and market forces have not yet caught up. Our offering of these prints is a combining of Matt's technical and aesthetic knowledge (as a maker of these prints), his friendship and connection with five significant scholars and dealers (all Kunisada enthusiasts) in the field, and Matt's enthusiasm in sharing an artistic vision and kinship he feels with this artist.
A combination of an advanced aesthetic, bold colors, and widespread distribution and availability led Western writers and art critics, sharers of the stories of the ukiyo-e prints, to label his work “decadent”. Arriving in Japan and finding his prints everywhere, they labeled his work “undistinguished”. As recently as 1960 Jack Hillier, a major scholar of ukiyo-e, described Kunisada's print designs as “repellent to us, mainly because of spectacular or sensational subjects with color to match” (Hillier, The Japanese Print, A New Approach, Tuttle Press, 1960).
The result? Wonderful Kunisada prints with pristine brilliant color are still obtainable at very affordable prices. An important part of Matt's gallery effort is making these prints available, and offering them framed beautifully behind museum glass so they can function as investments to be enjoyed and learned from every day.
Visit our Kunisada page to learn more of this fascinating artist, of recent scholarship that is beginning to reveal the story of his art, and of our own effort to collect, display, and offer for purchase select treasures of his art production.
GALLERY DIRECTOR - Matt Brown
To purchase a gift certificate get in touch by using the form above, or give us a call.
1 Main St, Lyme, New Hampshire 03768, United States
Select postings about upcoming exhibitions, articles about our artists, and special events.
ARTISTS from AWAY. Leasing display space for special exhibits of work by folks who don't meet our local rule is something we have discussed. If you are interested, contact Matt (CONTACT button above).