Emil Orlik


Japanese Resting on the Mountain
(Japaner bei der rast im gebirge)

color woodblock print, signed and dated in pencil on lower right margin, Emil Orlik 1900, published by the artist while in Japan, very likely self-carved and self-printed, 1900

oban yoko-e 10 1/8 by 13 3/8 in., 25.6 by 33.9 cm

Emil Orlik was born in Prague in 1890, when it was still a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As a student he moved to Germany in 1889 in order to enroll at the Academy of Fine Art in Munich, although he wasn't admitted until 1891. Orlik quickly gained recognition at the academy; however, in 1893 he left before graduating because he began to feel stifled by his professors who objected to his experimentations with etching and lithography. He was a prolific artist; in addition to his paintings and etchings, Orlik produced magazine and book illustrations, poster, stage and costume designs.

In 1896 he began to develop his own style of color woodcut. Together with a friend from the academy, Orlik made use of an article which had been recently published in English, Japanese Wood-Cutting and Wood-Cut Printing (Smithsonian, 1892), which was written by T. Tokuno, the head of the Japanese Bureau of Engraving and Printing. In 1898 Orlik went on a tour of Europe, including England, Scotland, Belgium, Holland, and his first visit to Paris, where he became more keenly aware of the French interpretation of Japanese art: Japonisme. This inspired Orlik to pursue the source: in March 1900 he traveled to Japan with the specific intention of learning as much as possible about Japanese woodblock printmaking. He was a determined student: he studied the language in advance, and within a few months he was conversant enough to explore Tokyo and the countryside on his own. While in Japan, Orlik met the young American artist Helen Hyde (1868-1919), who sought his help and advice on carving and printing (Mason & Mason). He stayed in Japan until November 1901, producing woodblock prints as well as lithographs and etchings, some of which were completed upon his return to Europe.

Emil Orlik, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Museum Krefeld, June-July, 1901, no. 194
Emil Orlik, Sein Graphisches (Emil Orlik, His Graphic Works), art shop Voigtlander-Tetzner, Frankfurt, 1910, no. 177
Almut Heidegger, Emil Orlik (1870-1932) Das Holzschnittwerk (woodblock prints), master thesis, Freiburg, 1982, no. 58
Setsuko Kuwabara, Emil Orlik und Japan (Emil Orlik and Japan), Frankfurt, 1987, H-14
Emil Orlik zum 120 Geburtstag (120th Anniversary), Galerie Bodo Niemann, Berlin, 1990, no. 11
Julia Meech & Gabriel P. Weisberg, Japonisme Comes to America, 1990, pp. 114-115
Tim Mason & Lynn Mason, American Printmakers: Helen Hyde, 1991, p. 19
Otmar Rychlik, Emil Orlik, Prag Wien Berlin (Prague, Vienna, Berlin), The Jewish Museum, Wien, 1997, no. IV/29
Birgit Ahrens & RĂ¼diger Joppien, Wie ein Traum (Emil Orlik in Japan), 2012, p. 51, no. 9

(inv. no. C-3040)

price: Sold


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site last updated
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Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
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