Notre Dame from the Banks of the Seine
color woodblock print; signed at lower right in kanji, Kazue, with red circular artist's seal in katakana, Kazue, paper with Yamagishi Kazue watermark; ca. 1930
16 5/8 by 12 1/2 in., 42.3 by 31.9 cm
Yamagishi Kazue was born in Ina City of Nagano and moved to Tokyo at the age of 15 where he worked as a woodblock carver for the Yomiuri Shinbun Company from 1906 to 1916. In addition to learning the block-carving trade, Yamagishi studied painting with Kuroda Seki (1866-1924), one of the most recognized and influential yoga (Western-style) artists; and sculpture with Muto Shuho. From 1917 he carved woodblocks for a variety of artists and he was sent to the United States and Europe from 1926 to 1929 by the Ministry of Education in order to demonstrate and promote Japanese woodblock printing techniques. He carved blocks for Yokoyama Taikan (1868-1968), Takehisa Yumeji (1884-1934), Kaburagi Kiyokata (1878-1972), Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950), Paul Jacoulet (1896-1960), Ishikawa Toraji (1875-1964) and book covers for Onchi Koshiro (1891-1955).
In addition to his importance as the carver of choice to leading shin-hanga (lit. 'new print') artists, Kazue self-carved and self-printed many woodblock prints of his own design, which aligns him with the ethos of the sosaku-hanga (lit. 'creative print') artists. This view of the Notre Dame seems to be part of a group (or untitled series) of prints featuring scenes from his European tour. Kazue also published other self-carved and self-printed series including One Hundred Views of Japan (Nihon hyakkei) in 1929; One Hundred Views of the World (Sekai hyakkei) in 1937; and One Hundred Views of the East (Toa hyakkei), in 1937.
Helen Merritt, Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: 1900-1975, 1992, p. 168
Catalogue of Collections: Prints, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, 1993, p. 257 (corrected artist's dates)
(inv. no. 10-2949)
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