Hokusai: One Hundred Poets
This lavishly illustrated, oversized (17" x 10") book brings together the last major print series of the celebrated Japanese artist Hokusai (1760-1849) and the Japanese poetry that inspired these beautiful prints. Whether showing semi-nude women abalone divers struggling with their catch while a male crew of shriveled old salts leers from a nearby boat, or the carefree rapture of a leisurely group of men and women observing cherry blossoms at their peak, Hokusai captures, with drama and delicacy, sublime and ridiculous states. The artist's simplicity, though deceptive, is also remarkable: he illustrates a poem about a lovers' seaside tryst with a magnificently imposing yet unadorned sailing vessel, its small window offering a coy glimpse of the fortunate couple inside. Each of the 111 color prints (as well as 41 black-and-white sketches of projected prints apparently never completed) is accompanied by the poem, in Japanese and English, a biographical note on the poet and by Peter Morse's comments on literary and artistic intention and execution.
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