~~ Book 1886070519 ~~
by G. Bigot, 1886
The image areas of the 29 etchings vary but, except for one, are generally 5 x 7 in or larger. The largest etching (Two Ladies Playing Shuttlecock/Badminton) is 8 x 10 in.
Georges Bigot's signature "G. Bigot" is found on 14 plates. A title is etched in manuscript on 18 of the plates.
This book went through several editions. I have seen a book with the same cover but with approximately 50% of the etchings with different images. The book is described as 33.5 x 26 cm. If this is the actual size it has either been reduced/cut down or it was printed in a smaller format. The images in this book can bee seen here. I have also seen the book with a different front cover which contains only Japanese language lettering.
Etching is a term of art that refers to an engraving process. It involves an artist actually sketching/carving the image onto a metal plate (usually copper) which has been coated with wax. The plate is dipped in acid and where the wax has been removed the lines are etched into the plate by the acid. It is quite likely that Bigot was the artist who sketched the plates rather than another person copying his work. On close examination, you see the printed image is in a recessed area. The recessed area is caused when the plate is pressed into the paper. It should be noted that not all of G. Bigot's books used the labor intensive etching process. Some employed the lithographic process which is more suited for mass production printing.
Bigot's life, with emphasis on the 20 years he spent in Japan, is discussed by Ikeda Tamio in "Georges Bigot's Passion for Japan" published in Daruma, Japanese Art & Antiques Magazine, Issue 35, Vol. 9, No. 3, Summer 2002. The author notes:
The first albums like Asa and O-ha-yo (1883) and Mata (1884) were limited to 150 copies and priced at two yen. These, especially Croquis japonais (Japanese Sketches) appearing in 1886 and several editions later, contributed to a renewal of engraving in the country. (Daruma 35, at page 41)
Details on the 31 Etchings
Title/ Signed/ Size/ Title Lettering [Subject]
Bigot's work in Japan was multi-faceted. He produced individual works for patrons, very limited edition books of etchings and mass marketed works in lithograph form. He worked in several mediums (water color paintings, sketches, etchings and lithographs) across a wide spectrum of subjects. He lived in Japan during an era of rapid modernization and assimilation of Western technology, ideas, values and styles. Much of his work appears to be an effort to capture images of the old pre-modernization Japan. On the other hand, he was keenly aware of where Japan was headed and sought to show that in his work. These images tend to be more in the nature of satire and along the line of what we now call cartoons.
In art published in France, Bigot would sometimes add the following Japanese signature to his work:
Georges Bigot: Ill y a cent ansa, nun artiste Francis auk Japan, Tokyo, Reunion desk Musees Japonais and Journal Yomiuri, 1987, square 8vo (9 x 9 1/2 in - 23 x 24 cm), text in Japanese and French, soft wraps, front cover illustrated with Bigot painting of a young lady carrying a child, 773 numbered illustrations of Bigot's work, 198 pp. An exhibition catalogue. This exhibition toured Japan and Paris from March through October of 1987. The catalogue is divided into two parts - works in color (386 numbered illustrations) and works in black and white (387 numbered illustrations).Often a numbered illustration contains sub-parts so there are far more than the 773 numbered illustrations. At the back are two sections with notes on each numbered illustration. The color illustrations show Bigot's works in Japan in water color, oil on canvas and pen & ink. The black and white illustrations show Bigot's sketch work as depicted in actual drawings or contained in various published formats (etchings, reproduced in lithograph and photo-mechanically reproduced). While Bigot's work before and after Japan are shown in this part, the vast majority are from the period when he lived in Japan. The black and white section also reproduces 6 photographs (#339) which appear to be his wife and son. A important and richly illustrated listing of Georges Bigot work in Japan. To see the cover, click here.
Available - Purchase Here
Available - Purchase Here
Shimizu, Isao (editor):
Images de L'ere -- Le Monde de Georges Bigot, un Artiste Francqis au Japon, ("Images of the Meiji Era - The World of Georges Bigot, a French Artist in Japan"), 2002, Kawasaki, Japan, Yamakawa Company, 4to, soft cover with illustrated dust jacket, 192 pp. Extensively illustrated in color and black and white. Covers Bigot's works in France before and after 20 years in Japan as well as his books, drawings, sketches and paintings while in Japan. Also provides biographical information on Bigot. In Japanese except for some captions to images which also include the English translation. A comprehensive review of Bigots work including his paintings, drawings (many published in The Graphic, La Vie Moderne and Journal des Voyages), satirical art and books. To see the dust jacket, click here. ISBN 4-634-60590-2.
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