Miller

Lilian May Miller

1895-1943

Moonrise Over Ancient Gateway, Korea

color woodblock print; with artist's LM monogram in lower right corner, inscribed faintly in ink in lower left corner, copyright 1922 by, over darker ink signature, Lilian Miller, and inscribed faintly in bottom margin, Edition IV- 1928(?), blocks carved by Matsumoto and originally printed by Nishimura Kumakichi II in 1920-21; this impression likely self-printed by artist in ca. 1928

oban tate-e 14 5/8 by 9 3/8 in., 37 by 23.7 cm

Miller liked to produce hand-written notes to accompany her woodblock prints which typically emphasized and embellished on the theme of ancient cultures and traditions set in eternally beautiful and peaceful landscapes. Brown records the narrative for this composition in Between Two Worlds:

Down the length of a typical Korean village runs a broad country road, guarded on either side by tall poplars that rustle with a silken whisper in the evening breeze. At the very end of the village stands an ancient gateway, once an entrance to the palace of some powerful 'yangban,' or Governor, now a dwelling place for the flickering bat and velvet-winged moth; yet still beautiful, with iridescent hills of Korea glimpsed through its spacious archway. As the dim afterglow of the vanished sun throws tapering poplar shadows across the road, and the summer moon rises from its purple nest behind the mountains, the people of the village come from their evening bowls of rice to enjoy the cool air and hold pleasant converse with their neighbors. There is always a cool tranquility, an unhurried peace, about such Korean evenings, as if the many sleeping centuries which have passed over this picturesque land left something behind them of the mellow and age-old serenity. (p. 55)

This print was initially issued in 1920-21 when Miller was working with the professional carver Matsumoto and printer Nishimura Kumakichi II. Although the date on the bottom margin is difficult to read, it appears to be dated 1928, when Miller began printing on her own from her earlier designs and also began carving her own blocks for new works.

References:
Kendall H. Brown, Between Two Worlds: The Life and Art of Lilian May Miller, 1998, p. 55, fig. 41
(inv. no. C-3045)

price: $2,200

kikumon

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