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Ebb and Flow: Cross-Cultural Prints

Ebb & Flow explores the “new in old things” through the exchange of artistic ideas between Japan and the West from the opening of Japan to foreign trade in the mid-1800s to the present. Along with a selection of prints from the Toledo Museum of Art’s seminal 1936 exhibition of shin hanga (new prints), the exhibition features artworks by 20th-century Japanese and Western artists influenced by the shin hanga movement and its more Western-related counterpart, the sōsaku hanga (creative prints) movement. Shin hanga revived the classic woodblock print collaborative workshop model of the Edo period (1615–1868), while sōsaku hanga artists designed, carved, and printed their own woodblocks. Prints by contemporary artists, both Japanese and Western, who themselves have been influenced by those important traditions, round out the show.
Katsushika Hokusai
Japanese, 1760–1849

Great Wave at Kanagawa from the series Thirty-six Views of Fuji
Woodblock print, about 1830–31
Carrie L. Brown Bequest Fund, 1951.292

Beginning in the 1850s and 1860s Japanese art objects poured into the West. Lacquer, fans, ceramics, illustrated books, and woodblock prints became prized possessions. It was this fascination with everything Japanese that made Hokusai’s Great Wave image famous enough to prompt French artist Henri-Gustave Jossot to slyly imagine the wave’s consequences.
Henri-Gustave Jossot
French, 1866–1951

The Wave (La Vague)
Lithograph, 1894
Frederick B. and Kate L. Shoemaker Fund, 1974.68

An illustrator and caricaturist, Henri-Gustave Jossot commented on the contemporary French enthusiasm for Japanese art in this parody of Hokusai’s famous woodblock print, Great Wave at Kanagawa.
Andō Hiroshige
Japanese, 1797–1858

Ohashi, Sudden Shower at Atake from the series 100 Famous Views of Edo
Woodblock print, 1857
Carrie L. Brown Bequest Fund, 1951.294

A sudden afternoon shower, or yūdachi (evening descent of the thunder god), pours down on pedestrians crossing the New Ohashi bridge, who shelter under their umbrellas and bamboo mats. A boatman plies his way with a long pole down the Sumida River, seemingly impervious. Ohashi, Sudden Shower at Atake is an acclaimed masterpiece from the series 100 Famous Views of Edo. It was Japanese prints such as this that inspired European artists of the mid-19th century to incorporate aspects of Japanese aesthetics into their own art.
Henri Rivière
French, 1864–1951

Funeral Under the Umbrellas (L’enterrement aux parapluies)
Woodcut, 1891
Frederick B. and Kate L. Shoemaker Fund, 2000.48

© 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Henri Rivière’s print is a French take on one of Japanese artist Andō Hiroshige’s (1797–1858) most famous color woodblock prints, Ohashi, Sudden Shower at Atake. Beginning in 1889, Rivière was instrumental in introducing into French art the techniques of Japanese color prints. In complex, labor-intensive procedures, he cut the woodblocks, mixed the water-based inks, applied them by hand, and printed each impression without a press, just as the process was done in Japan.

Each color necessitated a separate woodblock; this print employed six. His interest in the flattened compositional space, dramatic points of view, strong light-dark contrasts, and delicate colors of Hiroshige’s prints are evident in his work. The dramatic angle of view, rich colors, and wash-like transitions provide the foundation for the strong visual and emotional effect this work creates.

Reproduction, including downloading of ARS member artist works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

James Abbott McNeill Whistler
American, 1834–1903

Nocturne
Lithotint, 1878
Museum purchase, 1923.75

In 1912 T. R. Way, the master printer of Whistler’s lithotints, recalled that this particular print was drawn “from memory while Whistler sat in the printing offices of Wellington Street.” Whistler had painted the scene many times as it was the dominant view from his London apartment windows. From those windows he saw the spire of Battersea Church, industrial slag heaps, the lighted clock tower of the Morgan Crucible Company, warehouses, and chimneys.

Using the lithotint process (a print technique that gives the appearance of a drawing made with ink washes), Whistler softened the hard-edged industrial landscape, finding beauty where others could not.

Whistler was an important influence on the shin hanga (new prints) artists. Both Hiroshi Yoshida and Kawase Hasui mention Whistler in their writings, specifically his nocturnes, which the two printmakers admired for their richness and subtlety of color. They strove to emulate the mood of Whistler’s nocturnes in their own night scenes. Whistler himself had been heavily influenced by Japanese art, which once again shows the dialogue that was occurring by this time between artists in Japan and artists in the West.
James Abbott McNeill Whistler
American, 1834–1903

The Bridge
Etching, 1886
Museum purchase, 1943.29

James Abbott McNeill Whistler was born in America but lived most of his life in Britain. In the fall of 1879 he travelled to Venice, where over the course of a year under commission by the Fine Art Society, he created two series of etchings. Whistler sought to depict not the famous views, but more unconventional subjects and vistas that explored the full range of the city’s charms.

From Whistler’s “Second Venice Set,” the setting of this etching is near the island of Ghetto.
Aubrey Beardsley
British, 1872–1898

Le Mort D’Arthur
Published by J. M. Dent, London
Book with photogravure and line block reproductions, 1893–94
Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1952.67a–b

The young Aubrey Beardsley’s imaginative illustrations for the story of the birth, life, and death of King Arthur and the noble Knights of the Round Table were deemed a great success shortly after this book was published.

Beardsley’s exotic stylization, as exemplified by the decorations in these volumes, was a crowning achievement of 1890s Art Nouveau pictorial design. Japanese artists visiting Europe at the turn of the century were greatly influenced by Art Nouveau design. In fact Art Nouveau motifs were used to decorate publications produced by sōsaku hanga (creative prints) artists of the early 20th century.
Paul Gauguin
French, 1848–1903

Be in Love You Will Be Happy. (Soyez amoureuses, vous serez heureuses.)
Woodcut, after 1895
Gift of Georges-Henri Rivière, Paris, 1932.37

In this woodcut, Gauguin employed multiple printings on overlaid sheets of translucent paper, creating unique variations of color and texture. The simplified outlines, fragmentary forms, and flattened spaces create an image that transcends the observable.

In the foreground, Gauguin depicts himself as a child, an aged Eve, and a supplicating Mary Magdalene. In the upper corner is a figure inspired by the artwork of Odilon Redon. Be in Love You Will be Happy portrays a world of suffering and death as a result of the perversion of physical love in Western culture.

The vitality of European woodcuts like this one inspired some early 20th-century Japanese artists to take control of the printmaking process for themselves, rather than working within the publisher-dominated framework.
Mary Cassatt
American, 1844–1926

The Barefooted Child
Drypoint and aquatint, 1896–97
Museum purchase, 1945.39

American artist Mary Cassatt created her first color etchings spurred by an 1890 exhibition of Japanese prints. She made The Barefooted Child a few years later, following her purchase of a country home near Paris. In her studio on the edge of a long pool on the property, she continually explored the relationship of the modern mother and child. Creating luminously colored, ink wash-like effects, Cassatt imparted a visual richness and emotional warmth to her imagery.

Emil Orlik
Czech, 1870–1932

Japanese Artist, Japanese Woodcutter, Japanese Printer
Woodcut (triptych), about 1900
Winthrop H. Perry Fund, 1985.1

Emil Orlik, who was born in Prague, studied art in Munich. In 1900 he made a yearlong visit to Japan. Greatly admiring the woodblock prints that he saw there, he produced this homage to the printmakers/craftsmen who produced them. Orlik also emulated the style and techniques of Japanese woodblocks in the production of this and many other works of art that he made during this time. During his Japanese sojourn, Orlik came into contact with some of the young Japanese artists that initiated the sōsaku hanga (creative prints) movement.

Vassily Kandinsky and other members of the artists’ collective called The Blue Rider wanted to break down the barriers and distinctions between the arts. Their journal featured the work of the Expressionists along with children’s, folk, and ethnographic art, as well as music, criticism, and drama. The Blue Rider described themselves as “‘savages’ fighting against an old established order. The battle seemed unequal, but spiritual matters are never decided by numbers, only by the power of ideas. New ideas can kill what seems indestructible.”

The cover of the only issue of the journal that was published features an image of Saint George, the most popular saint in Kandinsky’s native Russia. Here, as the Blue Rider, he symbolizes the triumph of art over the dragon of decadent and materialistic civilization.

It was precisely this break with convention that inspired young Japanese artists travelling to Europe at the time. Exposure to Expressionism, and the theory that all art was equal, encouraged a break with the publisher-driven hanmoto system of print production.


Reproduction, including downloading of ARS member artist works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Charles W. Bartlett
English, 1860–1940

Iwabuchi
Woodblock print, 1916
Lent from the collection of Douglas and Elaine Barr

Iwabuchi is situated close to the sea, southwest of Tokyo, in the Shizuoka Prefecture. Fujiyama (Mt. Fuji) lies just to the northeast. The activity in the foreground—boats being loaded with tubs and boxes, and the pale yellow sky—suggests the beginning of the workday. A long wooden bridge spans the breadth of the print on a slight diagonal, unifying the composition. Hills arise in the middle ground and Fujiyama looms large in the background.

The English watercolorist Charles Bartlett first arrived in Japan in 1915 after an extended trip through India, Ceylon, Indonesia, and China. In Japan, he collaborated with woodblock publisher Watanabe Shōzaburō (1885–1962), a proponent of the traditional hanmoto (printing workshop) system. In this system, the publisher supervises the process of print production.

Charles W. Bartlett
English, 1860–1940

A Village Temple, Kashmir
Woodblock print, 1919
Lent from the collection of Douglas and Elaine Barr

Loaded boats sit high on shimmering blue water in the foreground. A central stairway flanked by two pavilons fill the middle ground. The domed temple, backed by billowing white clouds, sits majestically centered with a hint of wooded landscape behind it.

Charles W. Bartlett was one of the first Western artists to work with the Japanese print publisher Watanabe Shōzaburō. Bartlett supplied Watanabe with watercolor sketches, often based on his travels through Asia and Hawaii, which the publisher would then turn over to highly skilled woodblock carvers. The carvers would carve the design onto blocks (one for the general outline and one for each separate color), which were then printed by artisans trained specifically in the craft of woodblock printing.

Torii Kotondo
Japanese, 1900–1976

Yuge (Steam)
Woodblock print, 1929
Lent from the collection of Douglas and Elaine Barr
© 2013 Torii Kotondo Estate

Torii Kotondo was one of the ten artists featured in the exhibition Modern Japanese Prints held at the Toledo Museum of Art in 1936. At the time, he was the heir of the oldest and only existing family of the Torii School of artists who specialized in making paintings and prints for the Japanese theater.

Kotondo studied with the Japanese master painter, Kaburagi Kiyokata. Kiyokata was renowned for his depictions of beautiful women (bijinga) and was, by coincidence, an aficionado of Kabuki Theater. Kabuki, in Japanese characters, can be translated as “sing, dance, skill” and is sometimes translated as “the art of singing and dancing.”

His studies served Kotondo well as he went on to become an art director for the Imperial Theater and for Japanese Kabuki cinema while gaining renown as an artist.

Jinbo Tomayo (Jimbo)
Japanese, dates unknown

Pensive Girl
Woodblock print, about 1930
Lent from the collection of Douglas and Elaine Barr
© 2013 Jinbo Tomayo Estate

This is a rare shin hanga (new prints) image by Tomayo. She is only known to have made four print designs. In this example a young bijin (beautiful girl) walks beneath Japanese maple trees while holding an open umbrella. The print is notable for the extensive use of gauffrage (a type of embossing) that gives added depth to the otherwise two-dimensional surface of the print.

Hakuho Hirano
Japanese, 1879–1957

After Bath
Woodblock print, 1932
Lent from the collection of Douglas and Elaine Barr

Hirano Hakuho studied ukiyo-e painting of the 18th century as a youth and was primarily self-taught. Little is known about his life; however, he did collaborate with publisher Watanabe Shōzaburō for whom he produced at least six prints. This is one of those hanmoto (publisher guided) images and, much like Hakuho’s other work, is characterized by graceful lines, muted colors, and swirling baren lines in the background (a technique called gomazuri; the baren is the flat disc used to rub the paper against the inked block to make the print impression).

An impression of this bijinga (beautiful woman) print was exhibited in the January 1936 exhibition of Modern Japanese prints at the Toledo Museum of Art.

Ohara Shōson (Kōson)
Japanese, 1877–1945

Running Water and Chrysanthemums
Woodblock print, 1931
Gift of Hubert D. Bennett, 1939.447

Ohara Shōson was a master of the kachoga print—images of the natural world, but particularly of birds and flowers. Over his career he produced more than 450 print designs. His aim was to balance a naturalistic portrayal of his subjects with a decorative sensibility. The three prints featured here are prime examples of his artistry.

Ohara Shōson (Kōson)
Japanese, 1877–1945

Rose Mallow and Fly-Catcher
Woodblock print, 1932

Gift of Hubert D. Bennett, 1939.452

Ohara Shōson (Kōson)
Japanese, 1877–1945

Coxcomb
Woodblock print, 1932

Gift of Hubert D. Bennett, 1939.456

Itō Shinsui
Japanese, 1898–1972

Red-Flowered Plum
Woodblock print, 1933
Gift of Hubert D. Bennett, 1939.443
© Itō Shinsui Estate

In this print, a young woman, in early spring, stands beside an ancient plum tree that has been propped up to prevent its breaking.

Itō Shinsui apprenticed at the Tokyo Printing Company, where he became interested in print design. He left to study with the painter Kaburaki Kiyokata and met his lifelong friend the artist Kawase Hasui. Watanabe Shōzaburō commissioned him to produce prints for his print publishing studio after seeing his work in the annual Bunten show sponsored by the Japanese government. Along with Hasui, he was named a living national treasure of Japan based on his contribution to Japanese printmaking.

Suwa Shrine is the major Shinto shrine of Nagasaki, Japan. It was built in 1614, in part to stem the conversion of the population to Christianity. Due to its location outside of the city center, it survived the August 9, 1945, atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

When he was 13, Shiro Kasamatsu began studies with Kaburagi Kiyokata, a master of the bijinga (“pictures of beautiful women”) genre. Later, while studying Japanese-style painting (nihonga), Shiro concentrated on landscapes. One of his landscape paintings, shown at a prestigious exhibition, appealed to the print publisher Watanabe Shōzaburō, and the two began collaborating in the production of shin hanga (“new prints”)—a revival of the earlier ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) tradition of woodblock prints from the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Shiro supplied designs for Watanabe to publish until 1939, when World War II virtually brought print production to a halt. After the war, Shiro stopped working with Watanabe altogether, and by the 1950s, he was carving and printing his own designs.

Shiro was one of 10 artists featured in the second of two landmark exhibitions of shin hanga organized by the Toledo Museum of Art in 1930 and 1936.
Shiro Kasamatsu
Japanese, 1898–1991

Interior of a Hot Spring Bath-House at Nozawa, Shinshu Province
Woodblock print, 1933
Gift of Hubert D. Bennett, 1939.444
© Shiro Kasamatsu Estate

Located in what is now the Nagano Prefecture, the town of Nozawa is reputed to have been founded in the 8th century. It has been widely known for its therapeutic hot springs since the Edo period (1615–1868). Today it is most widely known as a ski resort.


Shiro Kasamatsu
Japanese, 1898–1991

Calm Morning on Cape Ajiro, Izu Province
Woodblock print, 1933
Gift of Hubert D. Bennett, 1939.445
© Shiro Kasamatsu Estate

The earthquake-prone Ajiro-zaki is a sparsely populated area located on the Izu Peninsula that juts out into the Pacific Ocean. Even with the earthquakes, the peninsula is very popular with tourists from around the world. Numerous hot springs, modern resorts, and seaside vistas are some of the attractions.

Hiroshi Yoshida
Japanese, 1867–1950

Kara Bridge at Seta
Woodblock print, 1933
Gift of Hubert D. Bennett, 1939.469

Hiroshi Yoshida became interested in Western-style painting through the influence of his adoptive father, who was a painting teacher at a public school. He continued studying painting in both Japan and the U.S. and worked as a painter until he began making woodblock prints at age 44. While producing prints with publisher Watanabe Shōzaburō as well as at his own studio, Yoshida promoted Japanese woodblock printing both at home and abroad. He was instrumental in organizing the 1930 Toledo show of shin hanga prints. The three prints featured here were displayed in the 1936 TMA exhibition Modern Japanese Prints: Wood-block Prints by Ten Artists.

Hiroshi Yoshida
Japanese, 1867–1950

Evening in Nara
Woodblock print, 1933
Gift of Hubert D. Bennett, 1939.472
Hiroshi Yoshida
Japanese, 1867–1950

Saruzawa Pond
Woodblock print, 1933
Gift of Hubert D. Bennett, 1939.474
Kawase Hasui
Japanese, 1883–1957

Fuji River
Woodblock print, 1933
Gift of Hubert D. Bennett, 1939.421

Kawase Hasui, one of the most prolific shin hanga artists, began painting during a long illness as a child that left him with poor eyesight. Undeterred, he continued studying under a number of artists, including Kaburagi Kiyokata, in whose studio he met Itō Shinsui, who inspired him to take up woodblock printmaking. In 1918 Hasui began working for Watanabe Shōzaburō, for whom he made many series of landscape prints based upon sketch trips he took throughout Japan.

Hasui would often print an identical image from the same woodblocks, but with different colors to show one scene at different seasons or times of day. While in these repeated scenes the primary woodblocks are the same, sometimes the artist would add additional blocks or remove one to change details.
Kawase Hasui
Japanese, 1883–1957

Fuji River
Woodblock print, 1933
Gift of Hubert D. Bennett, 1939.422
Kawase Hasui
Japanese, 1883–1957

Temple of Kenjo-Ji
Woodblock print, 1933
Gift of Hubert D. Bennett, 1939.423
Paul Jacoulet moved to Tokyo from Paris at an early age when his father accepted a position teaching French. A precocious child, Jacoulet had a talent for drawing, music, and languages.

As an artist, Jacoulet is best known for his woodblock prints of beautiful people inspired by ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) prints of the Edo period (1615–1868). The subjects often reflected his travels in Japan, China, Korea, Mongolia, and numerous islands of the South Pacific. Working from his own “Institute of Prints,” he began publishing his designs in 1934. Employing the best carvers and printers, he produced over 160 prints during his career.

Jacoulet often experimented with new media, using precious metal pigments and crushed semi-precious stones in combination with more traditional techniques like embossing and the application of powered mica (phyllosilicate). His compositions are inventive and his print quality masterful, with some designs requiring as many as 60 carved cherry-wood blocks.

The Rainbow Series of prints are based on paintings that Jacoulet produced in Saipan of women dressed in finely embroidered outfits. The color scheme of the series—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet—follows the sequence of a rainbow.

Reproduction, including downloading of ARS member artist works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Toraji Ishikawa
Japanese, 1875–1964

Reading from the series Ten Types of Female Nudes
Woodblock print, 1934
Gift of Hubert D. Bennett, 1939.480

Toraji Ishikawa was a Western-style painter and watercolorist best known for his light-filled landscapes. He produced a limited number of woodblock prints that included seascapes and a series entitled “Ten Types of Female Nudes.” He is perhaps best known for this series of prints in which, as scholar Helen Merritt described, “he abandoned himself with obvious pleasure to the flat pattern and decorative placement that were his birthright.”

The compositions of these prints show an undeniable link to the “flapper” era that, in 1934, had come to an end in the United States but lingered in Japan. In the hairstyles, poses, and general demeanor of the figures there is an undeniable link to the Roaring Twenties. There is often a contrast between the curving lines of the nudes and the geometric or floral patterns of the surroundings that enhances the sense of modernity the artist was striving for.

Toraji Ishikawa
Japanese, 1875–1964

Blue Parrot from the series Ten Types of Female Nudes
Woodblock print, 1934
Lent from the collection of Douglas and Elaine Barr
Toraji Ishikawa
Japanese, 1875–1964

Relaxing from the series Ten Types of Female Nudes
Woodblock print, 1935
Lent from the collection of Douglas and Elaine Barr
Toraji Ishikawa
Japanese, 1875–1964

Dance from the series Ten Types of Female Nudes
Woodblock print, 1935
Lent from the collection of Douglas and Elaine Barr
Oda Kazuma
Japanese, 1882–1956

Outside a Temple Gate in Sakai, Near Osaka
Lithograph, 1941
Gift of the Artist, 1949.154

Oda Kuzuma was trained primarily in Western-style painting (Yōga) and is known for his association with the parallel sōsaku hanga (creative prints) movement of which he was an enthusiastic promoter. As a highly respected lithographer, he was one of the four founding members of The Creative Print Society.

Kazuma’s connection to the creative print movement and its Western-influenced ideas did not prevent him from developing an interest in traditional ukiyo-e woodblock prints of the 18th and 19th centuries. He found beauty and poetry in the work of earlier Japanese artists like Hiroshige and attempted to emulate them in his designs for woodblock prints. In this capacity he began working with the publisher Watanabe Shōzaburō in 1924.

Kazuma continued to lead a double artistic life working with Watanabe until the 1950s while maintaining his status within the creative print movement. The artist gave these three lithographs to the Toledo Museum in 1941.
Oda Kazuma
Japanese, 1882–1956

Dotombori River at Night (Osaka)
Lithograph, 1918
Gift of the Artist, 1949.123
Oda Kazuma
Japanese, 1882–1956

Street in Snow
Lithograph, 1941
Gift of the Artist, 1949.156
The first son of the artist Hiroshi Yoshida, Tōshi began studying painting at a very early age and produced his first woodblock print in 1925 at the age of 14. Following a traditional lower and middle school education, Tōshi studied four years of oil painting at the Taiheiyo Art School. After graduating, he then traveled in 1929 with his father to India and Southeast Asia on a carefully planned print/sketching trip.

In his lifetime, Tōshi became even more productive than his famous father. By the time of his death in 1995, Tōshi had produced 396 woodblock prints with imagery that ranged from traditional Japanese landscapes, to African animals, to complete abstractions. In addition to overseeing the Yoshida Family Studio after the death of his father in 1950, Tōshi maintained a steady output of art that established him as one of the most admired Japanese artists/teachers of the 20th century.

This print by Tōshi, produced during the lifetime of his father, clearly shows the elder’s influence. As a young artist Tōshi produced images of animals as a way to distinguish or separate himself from his father, who was primarily a landscape printmaker. However, in his mid-20s Tōshi began producing landscapes in the style of his father. The two artists often travelled together sketching the same scenes.
Tōshi Yoshida
Japanese, 1911–1995

No. 6
Woodblock print, 1952
Gift of Douglas Barr, 2008.324
© Tōshi Yoshida Estate

After the death of his father, Hiroshi, in 1950, Tōshi Yoshida avoided using naturalistic landscapes as inspiration for his art. Instead, under the influence of his younger brother, Hodaka, Tōshi began producing abstract woodcuts. These two prints are from a larger series of abstract nudes that Tōshi produced in 1952.

Tōshi Yoshida
Japanese, 1911–1995

No. 7
Woodblock print, 1952
Gift of Dorothy L. Blair, 1953.80
© Tōshi Yoshida Estate
Hodaka Yoshida
Japanese, 1926–1995

Caught Bird
Woodblock print, 1951
Gift of Dorothy L. Blair, 1953.77
© Hodaka Yoshida Estate

Hodaka Yoshida was the second son of artists Hiroshi and Fujio Yoshida. By 1945, the first son, Tōshi Yoshida, had established himself as his father’s artistic heir apparent. Hodaka was encouraged to become a scientist; however, after World War II he too became an artist. Abstract art interested him the most even though his father, always a realist, strongly disapproved.

This and the following two prints are from his early years as an independent artist and are based on simple observations of nature. They were given to the Museum by Dorothy Blair, who, as assistant curator, helped to organize the 1930 and 1936 TMA exhibitions of shin hanga (new prints) artists. She was a personal friend of Hiroshi Yoshida and his family.
Hodaka Yoshida
Japanese, 1926–1995

Entwined Birds
Woodblock print, 1951
Gift of Dorothy L. Blair, 1952.78
© Hodaka Yoshida Estate
Hodaka Yoshida
Japanese, 1926–1995

Fallen Bird
Woodblock print, 1951
Gift of Dorothy L. Blair, 1953.79
© Hodaka Yoshida Estate
Shimura Tatsumi
Japanese, 1907–1980

Late Summer from the series Five Figures of Modern Beauties
Woodblock prints, 1953
Lent from the collection of Douglas and Elaine Barr
© 2013 Shimura Tatsumi Estate

The artist Shimura is best known for this series of five Japanese beauties (bijinga) produced in 1953 and published by the Japan Print Institute (Nihon Hanga Kenkyusho). Although a large edition of 300 was intended, it is now thought that less than half of that number was actually produced. In his bijinga images Shimura strove not only to depict beauty, but also to convey a tangible sex appeal. In this series, the women are pictured in traditional attire and posed in ways that enhance their femininity.

Shimura’s early career included work as an illustrator for newspapers, serialized novels, and magazines, especially Fujokai (Woman’s World) in Yokohama. At the age of 60 he stopped making prints and devoted himself to Japanese-style painting (nihonga).
Shimura Tatsumi
Japanese, 1907–1980

Start of the Dance (Dancing Girl) from the series Five Figures of Modern Beauties
Woodblock prints, 1953
Lent from the collection of Douglas and Elaine Barr
© 2013 Shimura Tatsumi Estate
Shimura Tatsumi
Japanese, 1907–1980

Hairstyle of a Married Woman from the series Five Figures of Modern Beauties
Woodblock prints, 1953
Lent from the collection of Douglas and Elaine Barr
© 2013 Shimura Tatsumi Estate
Munakata Shikō
Japanese, 1903–1975

Female Goddess with Fish
Woodcut, 1956
Lent from the collection of Douglas and Elaine Barr
© Munakata Shikō Estate

It is inherent in the woodcut that it can never be ugly.
Munakata Shikō, from The “Way of the Woodcut”

For Munakata, the art is within the woodblock itself: it is the carver’s challenge to release the image. In Munakata’s words, “the essence of hanga (prints) lies in the fact that one must give in to the ways of the board…there is a power in the board, and one cannot force the tool against that power.”
Munakata Shikō
Japanese, 1903–1975

Gautama and Bodhisattvas (Print Club of Cleveland publication No. 38)
Woodcut, 1958
Lent from the collection of Douglas and Elaine Barr
© Munakata Shikō Estate

I make black and white prints because I want to go back to the beginning.
Munakata Shikō, from The “Way of the Woodcut”

The vitality and spontaneity inherent in Munakata’s prints is a result of his carving technique. Being nearsighted, the artist would hold his face extremely close to the woodblock while carving. He rarely used design drawings and carved his blocks quickly. In explaining his creative process, he stated that, “the mind goes and the tool walks alone.”
The woodcut, unconcerned with good and evil, with ideas, with differences, tells us that it consists of truth alone.
From The “Way of the Woodcut”

Munakata Shikō taught at the Pratt Institute of Art in Brooklyn from 1959 through 1961. During his tenure, he carved the blocks and wrote the poems for this book project. The booklet contains three woodblock prints and two pages of poetry (the way of the woodcut).

With several museums dedicated to his art, Munakata is honored today as one of the most important artists of the sōsaku hanga (creative prints) movement. His early circumstances where not promising; as the third child in a family of 15 children born to a country blacksmith, he was impoverished. However, he demonstrated artistic talent before his teen years and went on, in 1924, to study woodblock cutting and printing with Hiratsuka Un’ichi.

Munakata became a proponent of the mingei (folk art) movement that he discovered just as he began exploring Buddhist religious imagery. The combination of the two informed his image-making throughout his career.
Kawano Kaoru
Japanese, 1916–1965

Twilight
Woodblock print, about 1956–59
Gift of Douglas Barr, 2008.329

Kawano Kaoru was active from the mid-1940s through the early 1960s. Like many of the sōsaku hanga (creative prints) artists, he used plywood for his woodblocks. The rough grain-patterned surface often produced a texture on the finished print that was highly prized by the self-publishing sōsaku hanga artists.

Yamaguchi Susumu
Japanese, 1897–1982

Mt. Hotaka at Daybreak
Woodblock print, 1957
Gift of Edward T. Hill, 2011.104
© Yamaguchi Susumu Estate


Mount Hotaka is located in the Chūbu-Sangaku National Park on the border between Nagano and Gifu Prefectures. It is often referred to as “Leader of the Northern (Japanese) Alps.”

Yamaguchi Susumu was born in Nagano Prefecture. He moved to Tokyo in 1920 where he studied at the Aoibashi Western Painting Institute. He began making woodblock prints and joined the circle of sōsaku hanga (creative prints) artists who worked independently, rather than for a publisher’s workshop. He returned to Nagano during World War II to escape the carpet-bombings of Tokyo and became a farmer; he continued to make prints, however. His favorite print subjects were mountain landscapes like the one featured here.
Ueda Fujō
Japanese, 1899–about 1970

White Dream
Woodblock print, 1962
Gift of Edward T. Hill, 2010.40
© Ueda Fujo Estate

With strong attention to texture and pattern, this dreamlike, surreal image combines the recognizable shapes of butterflies with overlapping abstract forms and meandering lines that connect the disparate parts.
Shusaku Arakawa
Japanese, 1936–2010

The Signified or If (No. 2)
Etching and color aquatint, 1975–76
Frederick B. and Kate L. Shoemaker Fund, 1978.7
© Shusaku Arakawa Estate

Conceptual artist Shusaku Arakawa visualized the constantly shifting structure of change and possibility (what he saw as the mystical) as a revolving diagrammatic cylinder. Through the repetition of similar shapes and radiating lines, Arakawa presents constant change: “a simultaneous adhering and breaking away, ‘cleaning and cleaving’, appearing and disappearing, or appearing itself becoming something and something becoming disappearance.”

At the time of his death in May of 2010, Arakawa was most widely known for architecture designed with his partner/wife Madeline Gins to help its inhabitants stop ageing. Their goal was to keep the residents of his structures in a “perpetually tentative relationship with their surroundings,” challenged with complexity, oddity, and perversity. Their theory, debated for its sincerity, was that the inability to be at ease would keep the mind engaged and the body young.
Francesco Clemente
Italian, born 1952

I
Woodcut, 1982
Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1983.69
© Francesco Clemente, Courtesy Mary Boone Gallery, New York

Although Francesco Clemente has been a representational artist throughout his career, there is an underlying conceptualism in all of his work: “My ambition is that both my life and my work can be expressions of the acceptance of the continuity of discontinuity, and can be a manifestation of freedom.”

Many lands and cultures, philosophies and beliefs inform Clemente’s life and art. His subjects have included the human form, his own portrait (as here), sexuality, myth and spirituality, non-Western symbolism, and dreamlike visions.

Clemente’s drawing style is deliberately naïve. Beautiful works of art are not his goal, although many are stunningly beautiful, delicate, and sentimental. The soft lines of this woodblock print are the product of the artist’s painting style and the technical skill of the Japanese printmakers who produced it.
Daniel Kelly
American, born 1947

Bowl
Lithography and woodblock, chine-collé, about 1999
Gift of Douglas Barr, 2010.28
© Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly is an American artist based in Kyoto, Japan. He works primarily in painting and printmaking. In his prints he often collages various papers (chine-collé), valuing the often subtle contrasts and the individuality that the technique produces in each print.

After several years of study with the figurative expressionist Mort Levin (born 1923), Kelly pursued an entirely different training. During a trip to Japan in 1977, at the age of 29, Kelly was accepted as a student by Tomikichiro Tokuriki (1902–1999), at the time considered to be the best woodblock artist in a Kyoto. This training has served him well as woodblock printing remains a major component of his art.
Daniel Kelly
American, born 1947

Read All About It
Lithography and woodblock, chine-collé, 1999
Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 2010.29
© Daniel Kelly

Roger Shimomura’s artwork examines the sociopolitical aspects of ethnic relations and identity. He was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1939 and spent two years of his early childhood in Minidoka, an Idaho internment camp for Japanese Americans during WWII.

He identifies himself as an American of Japanese descent, and has lived his entire life under the influence of his grandmother’s admonition, delivered to him as a child, that everything he did, good or bad, would reflect on the entire Japanese race. Inspired, as he often is, by 56 years of diaries kept by his late immigrant grandmother, and by artworks documenting the internment camps, Shimomura created this series of prints.

Combining aspects of Pop Art, with its relationship to cartoon-based imagery, and the popular Japanese printmaking genre, ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”), Shimomura has created a poignant series in his portfolio Mistaken Identities. The printsexamine this troubled and troubling period of American history.

Paul Binnie was born in Scotland in 1967 and studied at the University of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh College of Art, obtaining his Master’s degree in 1990. Exposed to Japanese prints through his studies, he began collecting them during several trips and a subsequent residency in Paris. Inspired, Binnie moved to Japan in 1993 to learn how to make woodblock prints in the Japanese manner.

Settling in Tokyo, Binnie began a work/study relationship with woodblock printmaker, Seki Kenji (born 1940). After 18 months in Seki’s studio, the Scotsman became an independent printmaker.

Ichakawa Danjūrō is a stage name taken by a series of Kabuki actors of the Ichikawa family. It is a famous and important name and receiving it is an honor. There are a number of roles that the line of Danjūrō specializes in, showcasing the talents of the Ichikawa family. In the Kabuki play Kanjinchō, Benkei is a yamabushi (a mountain priest), loyal to Yoshitsune, the younger brother of the shogun. The shogun has decreed that his brother must be arrested. Benkei disguises the fugitive as a porter in order that he might pass unrecognized through a barrier-gate. This print is in the style of early 20th-century shin hanga woodblock prints by Natori Shunsen (1886–1960).
Paul Binnie
Scottish, born 1967

Amagumo (Rain Cloud)
Woodblock print, 2001
Gift of Susan L. Peters, 2012.106
© Paul Binnie

Paul Binnie
Scottish, born 1967

Yoshitoshi’s Ghost from the series Edo zumi hyaku shoku (A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo)
Woodblock print, 2004
Gift of Susan L. Peters, 2012.105
© Paul Binnie

This print is done in the style of the great masters of ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) of the Edo period (1615–1868). Images of tattooed men and women were popular in early 19th-century Japan.

However, by the second half of the century, just about the time of Japan’s opening to the West, tattooing was considered barbaric, and images of tattooed people disappeared. Almost one hundred years later, in 1948, tattoos were again legalized. As subject matter for graphic arts, tattoos are now becoming popular again. Paul Binnie is partly responsible for that resurgence.
Paul Binnie
Scottish, born 1967

Murasaki (Purple)
Woodblock print, 2005
Gift of Susan L. Peters, 2012.108
© Paul Binnie

At a time when many artists are straining to create the unique, the newest, the most unusual, Paul Binnie is a firm believer in tradition. He uses the centuries-old technique of woodblock printing, mimicking the skill of great Japanese masters, to create new interpretations of classical themes using people and places from the contemporary world.

This print, in the style of the great bijinga specialist Itō Shinsui features a beauty trying on a haten, or padded jacket, in shades of purple with a black velvet collar.
Paul Binnie
Scottish, born 1967

Cloud Shadows, Grand Canyon from the series Meishō to no tabi (Travels with the Master)
Woodblock print, 2004–2007
Gift of Douglas Barr, 2010.47
© Paul Binnie

During his training in Japan, Binnie met Tōshi Yoshida. The young artist made many trips to Yoshida’s studio, paying special attention to the woodcarving and printing processes going on around him. No doubt the experience contributed to Binnie’s admiration for the artistic Yoshida family, especially Tōshi’s father, Hiroshi.

This is one of the largest Binnie-produced landscapes to date and is the first design in the series Meishō to no tabi (Travels with the Master). The series revisits locations outside of Japan that were depicted by Hiroshi Yoshida (1876–1950).
Hiroshi Yoshida
Japanese, 1876–1950

Grand Canyon from the series The United States
Color woodblock print, 1925
Gift of Hubert D. Bennett, 1939.298
Paul Binnie
Scottish, born 1967

Niagara Falls from the series Meishō to no tabi (Travels with the Master)
Woodblock print, 2009
Purchased with funds given by Claire and Allan Kirsner, 2011.1
© Paul Binnie

A continuation of Meishō to no tabi (Travels with the Master), Niagara Falls pays homage to a 1925 Hiroshi Yoshida print of the same subject.

While Yoshida’s Niagara Falls is a horizontal composition in the dai oban size (approximately 12 x 18 inches), Binnie presents a very large vertical composition from a completely different vantage point (from the American side looking towards Canada), depicting the American Falls in the middle ground and the Horseshoe Falls behind.
Hiroshi Yoshida
Japanese, 1876–1950

Niagara Falls from the series The United States
Color woodblock print, 1925
Gift of Hubert D. Bennett, 1939.299









Credits

Written by Tom Loeffler, Assistant Curator of Works on Paper
Designed by Chris Graver, Graphic Designer & Web Developer
Edited by Paula Reich, Head of Interpretive Projects and Managing Editor


All works of art in this catalogue are in the collection of the Toledo Museum of Art, unless otherwise noted.
This exhibition is supported in part by Douglas and Elaine Barr and by the members of the Toledo Museum of Art and the Ohio Arts Council.

Copyright © 2013 The Toledo Museum of Art
Toledo Museum of Art, 2445 Monroe Street, Toledo, OH 43620 | Phone: (419) 255-8000
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