Blog / A Student “Collector” Reflects on Hiroshige Print

Posted by Ana Corral

During the Spring 2014 semester, 55 Duke students have been playing Fantasy Collecting, a browser-based game that lets them research and exchange works from the Nasher Museum’s eMuseum. Recently, Katherine Jentleson, the students’ TA and gamemaster, issued the “Up Close & Personal Challenge” which encouraged all Fantasy Collectors to visit a work from their collections in person at the Nasher Museum. As part of this challenge sophomore Ana Corral reflects on her experience.

 

Fantasy Collecting

 

This morning, on Thursday, March 20th, I visited Ando Hiroshige’s Japanese woodcut print, Lady in Green Kimono (top middle image above). The piece was back in storage, but it is definitely a gem wherever it is displayed. Seeing it under white light, the detail and vibrancy of the colors in this 19th century print were outstanding, I felt like I was looking at the mechanical work of a state-of-the-art color printer. In addition, the seemingly beige background of the woodcut print is a lot darker in person, and it becomes a roasted tan really aiding the contrast of the subject’s green kimono.

My first impression seeing the print was also that it looked a lot smaller than expected. Before going in I hadn’t really paid close attention to the dimensions of the work, 14 x 9 1/8 inches, but to me the fact that this print was smaller than I thought it would be made the detailing more impressive making the smaller outlines stand out more. I chose to visit this piece over the others in my collection because I was intrigued by its mystery. Unlike my other works, I could not find information for this one through eMuseum and part of the game involves attributing artworks. I tried to find the work using various backwards image searches, but only found similar prints—many of them not as detailed and original as Hiroshige’s.

 

Ando Hiroshige, Lady in Green Kimono, 19th century. Woodcut on paper, 13 3/4 x 8 3/4 inches (34.9 x 22.2 cm). Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC, USA. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. W. K. Stars, 1979.54.14.

 

I traveled to Japan with my family in 2008, when I was not even 16 years old. I have to say that although I have grown up in a family that appreciates many forms of art, particularly paintings, I failed to recognize the beauty of Japanese prints at the time. My Fantasy Collection is essentially forming itself, and it’s beginning to acquire a sense of “Asian Fusion.” By selecting this piece to study, I vow to go back to Japan and experience the culture that made this art possible.


Ando Hiroshige, Japanese, Lady in Green Kimono, 19th century. Woodcut on paper, 13 3/4 x 8 3/4 inches (34.9 x 22.2 cm). Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC, USA. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. W. K. Stars, 1979.54.14.

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