Hit the Beach

Museum of Fine Arts in Boston celebrates the Japanese postcard

Big Picture

In the early part of the 20th century, reports the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the postcard replaced the woodblock print as Japan's artistic medium of choice. Many of Japan's leading artists created stunning designs, experimenting with styles such as Art Noveau and Art Deco. This past May, the MFA put on "Art of the Japanese Postcard," an exhibit showcasing the art of cards such as To Tomita Beach, above (1936, color halftone lithograph, 3-7/16 x 5-7/16 in., artist unknown).

But MFA visitors could do more than just admire the designs--they also could take these designs home with them, thanks to the museum's ability to create fine-art prints entirely in house, from capture through output. For fine-art prints of postcards such as To Tomita Beach, the MFA's in-house digital imaging specialists used three Epson 1600 flatbed scanners to digitize the images; the museum also has one Creo Leaf Volare, one Creo Leaf Valeo, and two Sinarback 23 HRs, but the scanners were the best solution in this case due to the number of postcards being scanned (19,000 in all), their relatively small size, and, in some cases, their metallic inks, says John Woolf, the MFA's senior digital-imaging and photography specialist.

Final prints are output via the museum's Epson Stylus Pro 9600 printer at 1440 x 720 dpi with Epson UltraChrome pigmented inks and onto Epson's acid-free UltraSmooth Fine Art Paper. The MFA offers three sizes of prints, from 16 x 20 to 24 x 30 in., and can also process custom orders. The prints are sold via the MFA's bookstore as well as its website. Each print comes with a certificate of authenticity; framing. (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, www.mfa.org)

View more from this Big Picture issue