Mt. Rainier & Sailing Boats: Mist Test Print
(Beikoku: Reniyasan / Setonaikai shu: Hansen kiri)
a unique double-sided print; Mt. Rainier with sumi ink signature Yoshida and artist's flower seal, bright red jizuri (self-printed) seal on upper left margin, dated below Taisho juyonen saku (made in Taisho 14 ), and titled below Reniyasan; the verso with a test print of Sailing Boats: Mist, with jizuri seal on left margin, the series title below, Setonaikai shu, followed by the date, Taisho jugonen saku, and the print title below, Hansen kiri, with the 'kiri' printed twice, ca. 1925-26
15 by 20 7/8 in., 38 by 53 cm
In the period following the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, woodblock print production continued to quickly evolve and technical innovations made more complex printings possible. Hiroshi Yoshida and his team of master carvers and printers pushed the process to the limit with large format printing, issuing a group of prints that measured as much as thirty-three inches on the longest side that required multi-part keyblocks and a team of five printers to wrangle the sheets onto the color blocks and trade off the baren-work after every five sheets. Already well-known for his skillful paintings and as a remarkably fine colorist, Yoshida explored the woodblock print medium, frequently producing variant impressions using the same blocks to capture a composition at different times of the day. One of his most famous examples of which is the set of six Sailing Boats prints produced in 1926 from the Inland Sea series, illustrating a progression of changing color, light and shadows throughout the day: Morning, Forenoon, Afternoon, Mist, Evening and Night.
This impresson of the Mist version of the Sailing Boats offers a rare glimpse into the trial and error aspect of printmaking. The Mount Rainier print from his United States series was issued in 1925, and at first glance this appears to be a perfectly acceptable and finished impression. However, in the upper right corner one of the background blocks in the sky was printed very slightly off-register, and as such, did not pass muster by Yoshida. The print must have been put aside, and the following year, in 1926, when Yoshida was working on his Sailing Boats variants, they used the same sheet of paper to test the alignment of the print, and one can see an adjustment might have been made to the keyblock as the last character of the title 'Kiri' was printed twice, one overlapping slightly with the other. What's even more interesting is that the background appears to be for the Morning version of the Sailing Boats- which was normally printed in a bright progressing of yellow to orange and pink.
(inv. no. 10-5110)
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site last updated
October 14, 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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