In 19th-century Europe the organic chemical industry made possible the synthesis of water-soluble aniline dyes. At first used to dye cloth, the affordable yet intense colors soon found their way into the studios of Japanese printmakers, where they were applied to all genres of print. The new Western colors became synonymous with celebratory depictions of the new social and political landscape in Meiji-period Japan. This album epitomizes the association of bright colors with the pageantry and building projects of the new regime.
Resource: Chelsea Foxwell and Anne Leonard, Awash in Color: French and Japanese Prints, exh. cat. (Chicago: Smart Museum of Art, 2012), p. 30.