Artists/the arts; Hiroshige: A Shoal of Fishes (Woodblock Prints), introduction by Bryan Holme. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Viking Press. $16.95.
The figure who capped glorious Edo period of the school of Japanese woodlock printmaking was unquestionably Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858). The art had been flourishing for almost 200 years when he emerged.
Although he employed various confusing pen names throughout his career, his prints of landscapes, river scenes, and, in this case, animals are truly unmistakable for their graphic skill and mastery of the tedious color process involved. His marvelous gift for intensity seems to give even these fish a depth that is far beyond the merely aquatic.
The book, beautifully reproduced, is bound in stitchless Japanese accordion style, leaving each print folded, not punctured. Highly recommended as an example of an exacting art form by one of its greatest masters.