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Paris et la Seine by Shinzo Fukuhara, Signed 1935 Edition



Paris et la Seine by Shinzo Fukuhara

Second Printing, 1935

Signed and dated by Shizo Fukuhara

Very Good Condition

This is a signed second printing of “Paris et la Seine” published by the Japan Photographic Society, Tokyo in 1935. The first edition of 1922 is among the rarest of all Japanese photobooks. Only 300 were produced and almost all of the copies were destroyed in the Great Kanto earthquake in 1923. This second edition is also rare. With the exception of an unsigned copy that sold at Christies in May, 2009, there are no records of a copy being sold at auction in over 30 years. WorldCat locates only two copies of the second edition at Duke University and the Houston Hirsch Library. There are no records of a signed copy ever being available for sale.

Often called the father of Japanese modern photography, Shinzo Fukuhara is considered a pioneer of Japanese art photography and was truly a renaissance man. Trained as a scientist and pharmacologist in Japan and the U.S. (Columbia University), he was the first CEO of Shiseido Company, Ltd and a pioneer in modern cosmetic marketing and design. A detailed biography appears below. His contributions to creating and promoting photography as an art form cannot be overstated. During his stay in Paris in 1913 he took numerous photographs of which a select 24 were published under the title “PARIS ET LA SEINE” in 1922. In his essay, “The History and Theory of Photography”, Kotaro Iizawa wrote, “It can be said that with Shinzo Fukuhara died the artistic photography of Japan. From a distance of some 50 years, his photographs evoke not simply nostalgia for the scenes of the past, but also an awareness of the tapestry of images that he so painstakingly created and on which he staked his entire aesthetic being. I am sure I am not the only one who could remain standing forever looking at his photos.” Anne Wilkes Tucker in her book, “The History of Japanese Photography” wrote, “Shinzo Fukuhara rebukedthe technique of heavily worked pigment prints that was then prevalent among photographic artists in Japan. He advocated an entirely more Modernist approach in its place: one in which the inherent qualities of photographs themselves are fore grounded--namely, its ability to reproduce gradations of light and dark. He writes: "The tones that are harmonized in an image--the tones of light and dark that are produced by gradations of light--are of primary significance in the photograph as a means of expression." While Fukuhara did not push the envelope nearly as far as would photographers in the 1930's, he was extremely influential for large numbers of practitioners, the style he advocated becoming pretty much ubiquitous through the 1920s.”

Measuring 10.75” x 8.25”, the book is bound in card covers and is housed in the original card slipcase. The condition of the book is Near FINE with scattered foxing to the covers and minor paper loss to the head of the spine. The slipcase is in VERY GOOD condition with scattered foxing and professionally repaired tears to the edges and the back of the slipcase. The book has been boldly signed and dated by Shinzo Fukuhara on the title page.

Photographs of the front and back of the slipcase, the book cover, signature treatment, and several photographs contained in the book appear in the photo section of the listing.

Shinzo Fukuhara (1883-1948)

Shinzo Fukuhara was born in Ginza, Tokyo in 1883 and at the request of his father was educated in science and pharmacology at a Japanese university and Columbia University so he could be prepared to manage the family business, Shiseido Company, Ltd. He became Shiseido's first chief executive officer. Fukuhara had a lasting influence on the development of modern photography in Japan. During the late Taisho (1912 - 1926) and early Showa (1926 - 1989) eras, Shinzo was important in establishing photography as an art. During his stays in the United States and Europe, he took over 2000 photographs of which a select 24 were published under the title PARIS ET LA SEINE after his return to Tokyo in 1922. This collection was followed by LIGHT WITH ITS HARMONY (1923), BEAUTIFUL WEST LAKE (1931), THE OLD TOWN OF MATSUE (1935), and THE SUNNY HAWAII (1937). Shinzo's interest in photography was supported by theory. In 1921, Shinzo formed the Shashin-Geijyutsu-sha to issue periodicals dealing with photographic theory and photography as an art. In this periodical, Shinzo discussed theories such as the importance of light and its nuances in photography. Such works and avant-garde theories left lasting impressions on photographers of the day. Shinzo also formed and served as the first Chairman of the Japan Photographic Society.