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Scholten Japanese Art Gallery
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Narazaki Eisho, Fuyo, 1864-1936
Snowladden Reeds and Kingfisher

very finely printed with a splattering of gofun, signed Fuyo with red square artist's seal Fuyo, published by Watanabe Shozaburo, ca. 1916-1932
otanzaku tate-e 14 7/8 by 6 3/4 in., 37.9 by 17.2 cm
Narazaki Eisho studied painting with the artist Kobayashi Eitaku (1843-1890), and copperplate etching at the printing offices of the Ministry of Finance under the direction of the Italian engraver, Eduardo Chiossone (1832-98). The extremely fine printing of the kingfisher's feathers, which is not visible from verso, is unusual for a woodblock print and raises the question if Watanabe's studio collaborated with Eisho in printing some of the details utilizing engraving techniques.
According to Merritt (and likely sourced from the ukiyo-e scholar Fujikake Shizuya, 1938), Narazaki Eisho used the art names Fuyo from 1916-1922, and Eisho from 1922-1936, which would suggest that this is a pre-earthquake (before September 1, 1923) print, a possibility which can not be ruled out considering the scarcity of works signed Fuyo. However, Watanabe does include nine designed by Fuyo in his 1936 catalogue in which he states the artist took the name Eisho as late as 1932.
Merritt, Helen, and Yamada, Nanako, Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: 1900-1975, 1992, p. 107
Reigle Stephens, Amy, gen. ed., The new wave: Twentieth-century Japanese prints from the Robert O. Muller Collection, 1993, p. 29 (on early Watanabe prints), and p. 109, cat. no. 83
Robert O. Muller Collection at the Freer and Sackler Galleries, accession number S2003.8.1542
price: Sold