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The Baron Rudolph d’ Erlanger personal  collection of Japanese prints.

Modest in size, the collection of original Japanese prints of Baron Rodolphe d'Erlanger includes 18 woodcuts of different sizes and themes, produced in the last third of the Edo period (former Tokyo) .
A connoisseur and amateur of Oriental art, The Baron Rudolph d'Erlanger had a taste for Far Eastern  (Southeast Asian) art, as testified  by the Chinese or Japanese artefacts found  in his collections (ceramics, furniture, etc.).
Simply put under glass by the appointed framer of Baron d'Erlanger, Marc Lhuicq, as evidenced by the labels affixed to the cardboard that protect them, the engravings, which form this collection, are most likely originals that bear the signature (and sometimes the seal) of some of the artists of the golden age of the Japanese print.
The Baron's attraction for the art of ukiyo-e  is attested by his self-portrait, dated around 1907 . This painting shows a series of Japanese prints hanging on the wall of his painting studio in Paris. However, a close examination of these prints shows that they are not included in the collection found at Ennejma Ezzahra Palace, at the time of its purchase  by the Tunisian State back  in 1989. This would suggest that the Baron's collection was much more important in number and that it has not been preserved in its entirety. The fact that he chose to bring at least part of this collection with him from Paris where he resided to his palace of Sidi Bou Said, would suggest that the interest of the Baron d'Erlanger for the traditional Japanese engravings was probably only a temporary fad , sacrificing to any mode at the time; The frenzy for Japanese artefacts  was well established in his time.
The craze for Japanese art, called Japonism, was very much in vogue, especially amongst painters of the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century  , but also men of letters, industrialists and major jewellers, marks the art and decoration in Europe, during the second half of the nineteenth century. Supported by official events, merchants, collectors, learned societies and ultimately by department stores, enriched by travel reports and articles, this "movement" is revealed to the public through the International Exposition of 1867 (French: Exposition universelle [d'art et d'industrie] held in Paris, from 1 April to 3 November 1867.
In 1890, the Japanese print triumphed at the exhibition of the School of Fine Arts, which offers a complete panorama of the ukiyo-e, from the origins to 1860.
To these great retrospectives, of which only the most important are mentioned, succeeded exhibits devoted to individualities such as Utamaro and Hiroshige at the Galerie Durand-Ruel in 1893.
In the present state of our knowledge of the personal archives of the Baron d'Erlanger, no document refers to the circumstances or the dates of acquisition of these prints, or to any intention or attempt by the baron to make them a source of inspiration or study for his painting activity.
Some labels on the cartons that protect certain prints suggest that this taste for engraving on Japanese wood, cultivated by Baron Rodolphe of Erlanger, was shared by his wife Baroness Bettina of Erlanger. Her name is inscribed with an fountain pen.
The Japanese prints of Baron Erlanger are the work of great masters of the art of ukiyo-e. The collection may be divided as follows:
- 4 prints by Keisai Eisen (1790 - 1848), who specializes in bijinga, or "painting of pretty people", and whose best works, including  some okubi-e (close-up on faces), are considered by some as masterpieces of the "decadent" period (the Bunsei era).
- 4 prints by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), probably the most famous Japanese artist in the West, who influenced many Western artists.
- Two prints by Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806), an artist known mainly for his representations of female characters; Among these prints one that is part of the famous series realized by Hokusai on Mount Fuji called thirty six views on Mount Fuji
- A print by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) an artist, mainly known for his landscapes;
- A print by Utagawa Shigenobou (1826-1869) surnamed Hiroshige II;
- A print by Utagawa Toyokuni (1769-1825)
 In terms of theme, the prints that form the baron's collection are quite varied, including Fukai-ga (Japanese term meaning natural landscape paintings), this includes rural scenes, including a cherry blossoming observation scene (Hanami in Japanese),   bust or full-length portraits  of female or male characters (geisha or courtesan and shôgun), a floral composition (ikebana), a falcon hunting scene. But we do not know whether these themes proceed more by chance than by a deliberate choice.
Some prints are part of series, such as the print titled "Yoshida in the Tokaido Region" by Katsushika Hokusai which is  part of the series "Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji", ( actually forty-six prints), or the print produced by Hiroshige II as part of  the series  titled "100 picturesque sites in various provinces".
In terms of type or technique of printing, this collection essentially comprises:
• Azuri-e prints, a term usually referring to Japanese woodcut prints, mostly printed in  blue (Prussian blue or Berlin blue). Even if only one type of blue ink is used, variations in light and dark values can be obtained by superimposing multiple impressions of a part of the drawing, or by applying a gradation of the ink to the Wooden printing block  known in Japanese as bokashi .
• Prints where a second colour is used, usually red.
• Two monochrome prints in black and white called sumizuri-e, which are in fact drawn from a picture book called e-hon in Japanese.
• Some prints are enhanced by embossing, a technique that reproduces patterns in relief on paper and adds a touch of luxury to the work.
As far as dimensions are concerned, the baron's prints may be  divided into two main formats: ôban (portrait orientation called tate-e and  landscape orientation called yoko-e), which is about 25 x 38 cm and chūban called yoko-e (landscape orientation) ) which is about 25 × 19 cm.

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