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Konen
Uehara Konen, 1878-1940
Nagoya Castle

sealed Konen, possibly published by Watanabe Shozaburo, ca. 1920-30s
otanzaku tate-e 15 1/8 by 6 3/4 in., 38.5 by 17.3 cm
Uehara Konen was born in the Asakusa district of Tokyo. He was a student of the painter Kajita Hanko (1870-1917) and of Matsumoto Fûko (1840-1923), who was the uncle of Takashi Shôtei (1871-1945).
Konen initially published his prints with Kobayashi Bunshichi (1864-1923), an ukiyo-e dealer who collected privately and also published reproductions. Kobayashi was a very influential figure; in 1898, he and Ernest Fenellosa (1853-1908, former curator of Japanese art of the MFA, Boston) organized the first exhibition of ukiyo-e in Ueno Park in Tokyo. He was also a supplier of Hayashi Tadamasa (1853-1906), the famous dealer of ukiyo-e located in Paris. Konen produced a great number of prints with Kobayashi, the lyrical subjects apparently intended to suit the tastes of buyers of classic ukiyo-e. Unfortunately, Kobayashi’'s shop and legendary collection of ukiyo-e were destroyed in the fires following the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. As a result, impressions of Konen’'s pre-earthquake prints are scarce.
Although this print does not have a publisher seal, it was likely published not by Kobayashi (who seemed to consistently use his paulownia leaf crest on the works he produced), by Watanabe Shozaburo, who published two oban-sized designs by Konen in 1928 and who favored the o-tanzaku (or mitsugiriban) size prints for most of the similarly-themed prints of 'old Japan' that he published by Takahashi Hiroaki (Shotei, 1871-1945).
price: $ 700