Artist: Toshi Yoshida (1911-1995)
Title: The Friendly Garden
Dimensions: (L) 30.3 x 54.5 (C) 30.3 x 54.5 (R) 30.5 x 55 cm
Condition: Excellent condition.
One of the most famous Japanese woodblock print artists of the 20th century, Toshi Yoshida was the eldest son of Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950), one of the most successful printmakers in the Shin-hanga movement specialising in the subject of landscape. During his artistic career, he struggled to make balance between staying loyal to his father and developing his own style while he sought how to renew declining Ukiyo-e tradition as a Shin-hanga artist. Although he chose to depict animals as his speciality in 1926, his early works up to the 1950s, like ‘Tokyo at Night’ (1938), adopted landscapes in a style similar to his father’s. However, compared to Hiroshi’s elaborate, subdued and monumental landscape prints, Toshi’s usage of rich and profound colour succeeds in expression of candid traditional Japanese scenery.
This triptych by Toshi Yoshida forms a rare image called ‘The Friendly Garden’. Each print has a different theme – plum, bamboo, pine – but together they suggest their resilience in front of a cold winter without withering like other plants and trees. Culturally, the ‘Three Friends of Winter’ are also called Sho Chiku Bai.
The prints were pencil signed in Japanese as opposed to the usual Toshi Yoshida western signature perhaps to add a more ‘exotic’ feel.