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From the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century, Japan was a vital world center for postcard art. More than just casual mail pieces, these postcards were often designed by prominent artists and had a visual impact that belied their modest format. Remarkably beautiful examples of graphic design in their own right, they also recorded the shifting definitions of East and West at a time when such European currents as Art Nouveau began to show up in Japanese visual productions. Art of the Japanese Postcard presents 300 full-color examples of these cards, culled from the vast Leonard A. Lauder Collection. They are astonishing not only for their beauty and the quality of their printing, but also for the insight they provide into contemporary Japanese artistic practices--insights not relayed in standard histories that focus on painting and sculpture--as well as for the fluid interplay of European and Japanese modes. Authoritative essays by leading scholars of Japanese art and culture, plus a statement by the collector himself, highlight the design, development, and cultural function of these rarely studied, but highly influential and visually exciting, expressions of graphic genius.
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