highlights international perspective

Helen Hyde,(American, 1868-1919)

The Mirror

Color woodblock print on tissue-thin paper. Artist's HH monogram at upper left, numbered and signed in pencil along the bottom, 211. Helen Hyde. Published by the artist in Japan, with the blocks carved by Matsumoto and printed by Murata Shôjirô, ca. 1904.

48.5 by 17.2 cm

Helen Hyde grew up in San Francisco in a comfortable home with doting parents who were enthusiastic supporters of their daughter's artistic inclinations. When her father died suddenly in 1882, the responsibility of Hyde's education was taken up by her wealthy Aunt Gussie, who made it possible for Hyde to pursue her studies of art unconstrained by economic concerns. In 1886, Hyde enrolled at the San Francisco School of Design, followed by a year (1888-89) at the Art Students League in New York City. In 1890 Gussie sent Hyde to Europe (the ultimate artist's pilgrimage): first to Berlin, and then on to Paris in 1891, where she stayed for three years.

While in Paris, Hyde studied with Raphaël Collin (1850-1919), Albert Sterner (1863-1946), and Félix Régamey (1844-1907), an illustrator who was immersed in the world of Japonisme. Régamey shared his love of Japanese esthetics with Hyde and stimulated her initial ambition to become an illustrator. In 1893, Hyde attended the first solo exhibition of the work of Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), where she may have found inspiration in Cassatt's Japanese-influenced color lithographs and her focus on mother-and-child themes. But it was another artist, Arthur Wesley Dow (cat. nos. 1-2), who Hyde credits as the reason she became primarily a printmaker instead of an illustrator. Hyde would eventually meet Dow in the land of their mutual inspiration, Japan, in 1903.

Blattner, Helen Hyde: An American Artist in Japan, Nov. 1911, illus. p. 53
Mason & Mason, American Printmakers: Helen Hyde, 1991, p. 43, cat. no. 57
Yokohama Museum of Art, Eyes Towards Asia: Ukiyo-e Artists from Abroad, 1996, p. 36, no. 20


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site last updated
September 22, 2020

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475