Paul Binnie
Eisen's Blue-print Pictures

Paul Binnie “Eisen's Blue-print Pictures” 2011 main image
In this series, inspired by classic ukiyo-e of the 18th and 19th century, Binnie incorporates compositions by major artists in the form of tattoo designs on nudes. In each of the designs. Binnie plays on various ukiyo-e themes, subjects and genres. For this design he references the short-lived but highly influential fashion for aizuri-e (all blue) prints which exploded onto the print market circa 1830 with the arrival of an analine dye imported from Europe (commonly known as Prussian blue). Unlike the natural pigments previously used for print-making; this blue was strong, vibrant, intense, and stable. The availability of such an appealing color inspired the tremendously successful landscape series, Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) and Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858); essentially creating an entirely new and seemingly insatiable market for landscape prints. Keisai Eisen (1790-1848), one of the leading bijin-ga artists at the time, also produced landscapes utilizing the new blue pigment. In fact, there is scarce (if not unique) fan print by Eisen dated 1829 in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum of Art which is thought to be the earliest dateable aizuri-e.
The Binnie seal in the shape of a baren is a play on the print title, ai-ZURI-e (blue printed picture), thus the baren is the tool used for suri (printing). The print depicts a view of a seated nude from behind, she leans on her left hand while raising her right hand to touch her coiffure in the takashimada (high Shimada) style, the tattoo based on an ukiyo-e print by Eisen depicting a courtesan rolling a letter.
Paul Binnie's announcement
Artist
Paul Binnie
Title
Eisen's Blue-print Pictures
Japanese title
Eisen no Aizuri-e 英泉の藍摺絵
Series title
A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo
Japanese series title
Edo sumi hyaku shoku 江戸墨百色
Date
Medium
Colour woodblock print on paper
Paper dimensions (h × w)
30.8 × 41.8 cm
Image dimensions (h × w)
Edition size
100
Artist's proofs
Subjects
Women (Bijin-ga 美人画)
Blue ink pictures (Aizuri-e 藍摺り絵)
Remarks
References
Metropolitan Museum of Art collection
Catalogue number
131 (L151)
Supplementary images
Conté sketch thumbnail Conté sketch
Sumi hanshita-e (keyblock picture) thumbnail Sumi hanshita-e (keyblock picture)