TITLE: Carl Schraubstadter and Japanese Prints: The Robert Louis Mueller Family Collection
EDITORS: Claudia Brown and Laurie Petrie Rogers
8 1/4" x 10", 60 pages, 35 color plates, Hergerger College of the Arts, Arizona State University, 2007
ESSAYS: "The World of Carl Schraubstadter: Collector of Japanese Prints," "The Elegant Craft of Japanese Woodblock Prints, "Social and Historical Foundations of Ukiyo-e," "The Art of Kabuki," "The Katsukawa School of Print Design," "Hiroshige: Life and Art"
This catalogue accompanies a Phoenix Art Museum exhibit of an important collection of 18th and 19th century Japanese woodblock prints from the Robert Louis Mueller Family Collection. The Mueller collection consists of thirty-five prints, many of which are rare and/or previously unpublished images. The collection was purchased in 1948 by Robert Louis Mueller’s mother, Vera Hilfer Mueller, from the Parke-Bernet auction of the collection of the late Carl Schraubstadter. Vera Mueller was assisted at the auction by Carl’s brother, Oswald.
Carl W. Schraubstadter (1862-1947) was an early collector of Japanese woodblock prints who circulated with other notable American collectors of Japanese prints, including Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959). As did Wright, Schraubstadter favored the prints of Andô Hiroshige (1797-1858). The Mueller collection includes a group of four narrow format kachô-e (nature prints) depicting birds and a pair of oshidori (Mandarin ducks) as well as a rare kakemono-e (vertical diptych print) titled “Peacock and Peonies.” Only a handful of examples of this kakemono-e are known to exist in museum collections worldwide.
Hiroshige’s landscapes are well represented by a complete set of the “Eight Views of Ômi.” One of the highlights of the 1948 Parke-Bernet auction of the Schraubstadter collection was “Night Snow at Kambara,” which is arguably considered to be the finest image from Hiroshige’s earliest and most important series of “The Fifty-three Stations of the Tôkaidô.” Nine rare fan prints complete the selection by Hiroshige.
The oldest prints in the collection are a group of twelve actor prints by Katsukawa Shunshô (1726-1792), the founder of the Katsukawa School, and his talented pupil Katsukawa Shunkô (1743-1812). These 18th century prints functioned as kabuki theater playbills. They depict the most famous actors of the day engaged in scenes from current theatrical performances.