Kakunen Tsuruoka, 1892-1977
Carmel Highland at Twilight Process Set
(Tasogare no Kaameru Hairando)
accordion album with forty-three sheets; the keyblock proof and the final print signed Kakunen, with silk brocade front and back cover and beige clothed-cover chiitsu outer wrapper with bone clasps, assembled by the publishing house of Watanabe, ca. 1938
oban tate-e album 15 1/8 by 10 1/4 in., 38.5 by 26 cm
Opening the album from right to left the first page shows the keyblock proof alone, followed by twenty-one double page spreads showing the progression of applied color in the printing process. The print on the right represents one 'pull' of a block of a single color or detail, the print on the left includes that element, gradually building up to the completed print on the very last leaf.
In the mid-1930s, Kakunen began collaborating with Watanabe Shozaburo (1885-1962, arguably the leading publisher of shin-hanga prints), to produce four woodblock prints based on his paintings. There was a fifth design of the Half Dome mountain in Yosemite that never made it beyond a test print due to the outbreak of war. Unusually, Kakunen retained the copyright on all four prints, which may represent the only time that Watanabe relinquished control to an artist, presumably because the productions was paid in full by the artist.
Progression sets from the full-sized original color blocks are extremely rare, it is possible that Watanabe assembled this album as a special presentation for Kakunen, and it may well be a unique item.
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site last updated
October 21, 2021
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
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