Yoshitoshi Tsukioka, Cat and Dog, Postal News

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Artist: Yoshitoshi Tsukioka (1839-1892)
Title: No. 596. A cat interferes in a dog fight and avenges herself against the dog that killed her mother.
Series title: Postal News
Publisher: Kinshodo
Date: 1875 - 1876
Size: 23.5 x 35.5 cm

Original Japanese woodblock print.

After a period of financial difficulties, Yoshitoshi's commissions gradually increased in the 1870s. Newspapers began to flourish with the Meiji restoration and over seventy newspapers of some description existed by 1873 when censorship on reporting about current events softened. In 1875 Yoshitoshi was asked to design prints for The Postal Newspaper which ended up being hugely successful and did much for the newspaper sales. The sensational news stories provided a rich source of material for the artist's designs, from the scandalous to the tragic. This series is the perfect example of Yoshitoshi's transition from traditional compositions to a Western technique of expression, often more realistic. As part of a newspaper, the designs offer a valuable insight into daily life in the Meiji period.

More Information
Print Format Oban (Vertical)
Artist Name Yoshitoshi Tsukioka
Title Cat and Dog Fight
Subject Male & Female, Animal & Birds, Others
Dimensions 23.5 x 35.5 cm
Condition Report Trimmed, small tears on the left, wear on the edges, red pigment slightly smudged.

Yoshitoshi Tsukioka

Yoshitoshi Tsukioka was one of the leading figures in ukiyo-e during the Meiji era (1868-1912), and perhaps the greatest ukiyo-e artist among his contemporaries. Yoshitoshi’s style was dynamic and distinctive: he was known for experimentation in style and genre, as well as for his innovative works. No other artist had produced ghost prints or included a range of different subjects in a single series before he did.

The publishing of Yoshitoshi’s most popular, and possibly best, series 'One Hundred Aspects of the Moon' (Tsuki Hyakushi) commenced in 1885. Consisting of 100 prints, this series spanned a wide variety of subjects, such as warrior, animals, ghosts, natural phenomena, beauties and others. The artist’s early tendency for gore and horror was replaced by 100 images of lyricism, calm, spirituality and psychological depth. This series also seemed to mark Yoshitoshi’s artistic independence and departure from a traditional ukiyo-e style. 'Thirty-two Aspects of Customs and Manners' (Fuzoku Sanju Ni So) is the series, in which Yoshitoshi’s new style, as seen in 'One Hundred Aspects', was successfully blended with the traditional ukiyo-e style. The series was published in 1888 and portrays different women. In 1889 another great series, called 'New Forms of Thirty-six Ghosts' (Shinkei Sanju Rokkai) started to be published. In this series, images of apparitions, mostly based on folklore and plays, were depicted powerfully, imaginatively and very beautifully. This was, perhaps, a catharsis for the artist who claimed to have seen ghosts and strongly believed in supernatural beings.