Hiroshi Yoshida, A Little Temple Gate, Shin Hanga
Artist: Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950)
Title: A Little Temple Gate
Original pencil signature.
Dimensions: 27.8 x 40 cm
Original Japanese woodblock print.
Hiroshi Yoshida was in the habit of titling his prints in both Japanese and English. In this case, the Japanese title translates to "Bunnosuke Tea House", whereas the English title reads "A Little Temple Gate". Both are probably accurate. as the tea house in question could be part of a temple complex.
The print places the viewer across the street from the temple gate. It shows the road, a little stream, the sidewalk and, finally, the gate. The latter is decorated with lanterns dedicated to the god Daikokuten who is a household deity associated with wealth and prosperity. Slightly lower, at the left side of the entrance, a round board lists the tea house's menu. Looking through the gate, two people can be seen conversing and beyond them the viewer gets a glimpse of the temple grounds where a flowering cherry blossom tree can be seen, placing this scene in spring.
Hiroshi Yoshida was one of the leading figures in the shin-hanga movement and stands out as one of the prominent landscape artists of his time. Born in Fukuoka, he was adopted by his art teacher Yoshida Kosaburo. In 1893, he went to Kyoto to study yoga and nihonga styles of painting and often produced watercolours.
Yoshida’s interest in woodblock prints came only in middle age when he started collaborating with the shin-hanga publisher Watanabe Shozaburo. He created seven prints under his guidance, although the collaboration ended abruptly when the publishing agency was destroyed in the fire following the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923. In 1925 he established his own workshop where he employed wood-cutters and printers while supervising every aspect of the printmaking process. The jizuri (self-printed) seal is found in the margin of prints which were made under his close supervision.
The artist was extremely fond of travelling and he embarked on many trips throughout his life, depicting locations in the United States, India, China, Korea, North Africa, the Himalayas and Switzerland. He was also a passionate climber, and most of his prints depict landscapes from his travels and alpine scenes from his mountaineering excursions. His style reflects his training as a painter and watercolourist. His prints display a wonderful choice of colour blending, while his skill at depicting the natural flow of water and reflections on its surface is remarkable.
Many of Hiroshi's prints were exported and became popular in the West. He was fortunate to have exhibited his paintings in oil and watercolour in both Japan and overseas and to have won numerous art exhibition prizes. He was one of the few shin-hanga artists to sign his works in English. His sons, Toshi Yoshida and Hodaka Yoshida, became great artists in their own right.
|Dimensions||27.8 x 40 cm|
|Condition Report||Edges slightly darkened. Pinholes top and bottom left corners. Faint dark smudges along left and right margins. Original pencil signature.|