Perth gallery providing an artful look to the East

THE Monet and Japan exhibition on display at the Art Gallery of Western Australia from July 7 explores Monet’s art in light of the influence of the Japanese prints he collected throughout his career.

To coincide with the renewed interest in Japanese prints, local gallery Gallery East has put together a collection of more than 60 original prints, including work by the artists whose art Monet collected.

The prints, on display from July 27 to August 26, were revolutionary when they first appeared in Europe.

“Monet surrounded himself with these prints, he soaked in the images and a lot of the effects he achieved by using paint,” Gallery East director David Forrest said.

“The Japanese prints are one of the great graphic art forms in the world … they had a dramatic effect on graphic art and design.”

The prints were a popular but ephemeral art form for the wealthy.

The images depict famous Kabuki actors, geisha and scenes from the pleasure court, a walled centre of entertainment in what’s now called Tokyo.

The value of the print depends on a number of difference factors, including the condition of the print the popularity of the artist and how sought after the image is

Prices range from a few hundred dollars to $500,000 on the international market,

Prints in the collection at Gallery East range in price from just a couple of hundred dollars to more than $2000.

“In the time I’ve known Japanese prints their value has increased ahead of inflation and a lot of the more popular images are now out of reach of the general population,” Mr Forrest said.

“It’s still a very lively market.”

Gallery East was founded on Japanese prints but it has taken 10 years to build the interest in the art form in the Perth market.

“We used to have several collections a year but now we have just one. Next year we’ll have an exhibition of erotic prints, which are very popular. They’re quite rare and wonderful things,” Mr Forrest said.

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