Saturday, August 30, 2014

Catching a wave

You can’t keep a good image down especially if it's as intense as The Great Wave off Kanagawa, the ukiyo-e woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai from his set Thirty six views of Mount Fuji. If you want to see a copy of the original you only need to go as far as the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. While it's thought around 5,000 copies were printed time is bound to have slashed that number back a fair bit. One was certainly lost in 2012 with the grounding and partial sinking of the ocean liner Costa Concordia. A set of the Thirty six views was hanging in the CC's wellness spa.

But don't give up. It's still possible to have your own copy. An original print of The Great Wave off Kanagawa was auctioned for $36,000 in 2003 while a full set of the thirty six views (for some reason there are 42 prints in the series) went for $2mil the year before at Sotheby’s.

Images: top, The wave as used by the advertising industry, the design world, the ink fiends and bottom, a mural in Dresden of all places by C.Muench