highlights international perspective

Helen Hyde, (American, 1868-1919)

Mt. Orizaba from Jalapa, Mexico

Color woodblock print on tissue-thin paper. Copyright 1912 by Helen Hyde along inside edge of top border, with artist's HH monogram and clover seal at lower left corner. Signed and numbered at lower right within the composition (obscured) Helen Hyde 67; and titled in pencil on the bottom edge, Mount Orizaba from Jalapa. Published by the artist in Japan, with blocks carved by Matsumoto and printed by Murata Shôjirô.

34 by 28.2 cm

References:
Green, Arthur Wesley Dow and His Influence, 1990, illus. 46
Mason & Mason, American Printmakers: Helen Hyde, 1991, p. 56, cat. no. 98
de Heeckeren d'Anthes, Helen Hyde: An American Japoniste, 1992, illus. p. 18
Green & Poesch, Arthur Wesley Dow and American Arts & Crafts, 1999, p. 30

n 1901, Hyde returned to the States, primarily to make the rounds to her dealers across the country and oversee exhibitions of her work. She went back 'home again' to Japan in 1902, setting up a grand residence in Akasaka, Tokyo, which she would consider her home for the next decade. She hired a professional carver named Matsumoto who worked on his own, and the printer Murata Shôjirô, whom she would supervise in her studio. The prints were produced on unusually thin paper. This may have been a question of economy, or perhaps Hyde was drawn to the delicate paper because it was evocative of the East and would have appealed to her American and European clientele.

Hyde made another trip to the States in 1905-1906 on business, and again in 1910-1912, however this trip was prompted by health concerns, as she needed an operation for cancer. Most of 1911 was spent recuperating in Mexico, where she continued to produce drawings and watercolors which she then made into prints when she returned to Japan in 1912.

Given Hyde's association with Japan, this composition at first glance appears to be a depiction of Mt. Fuji. However, it is actually based on sketches Hyde made while visiting the health resort at Jalapa on the east coast of Mexico. The mountain depicted is the highest peak in Mexico, Pico de Orizaba, an inactive volcano with a well-formed snow-covered cone (much like Mt. Fuji). This is Hyde's only true landscape print, and although the subject is not from Japan, the composition is very reminiscent of landscape prints by the 19th century artists Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858) and Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849).





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