Hiroshi Yoshida, Kumoi Cherry Trees

Hiroshi Yoshida, 1876-1950

Kumoi Cherry Trees
(Kumoizakura)

signed in sumi ink, Yoshida, with red artist's seal Hiroshi, and jizuri (self-printed) seal on left margin, followed by the date, Taisho jugonen saku (made in Taisho 15 [1926]), followed by the title, Kumoizakura, with English title in pencil on the bottom margin, Kumoi cherry trees, and pencil signature Hiroshi Yoshida, with carver's seal of Maeda Yujiro (1889-1957), ca. 1926

23 by 29 1/8 in., 58.5 by 74 cm

Yoshida images of japan

This print from 1926 is based on a large watercolor painting, Memories of Japan (71 by 94 cm.), which was first exhibited at the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1899 and was purchased shortly thereafter by the museum through a special public subscription which raised $500 for the acquisition. The subject portrays the daughters of the artist Kawai Shinzo (1867-1936) viewing blossoming cherry trees at Mount Yoshino in the moonlight. Twenty-seven years later Yoshida simplifies the composition slightly for the print format by reducing the number of figures from five to two and removing foliage and grasses from the foreground. In order to produce such an unusually large woodblock print, Yoshida divided the composition into three separate sections- a technical feat which is impossible to detect on the end result. Given the printing challenges it is not surprising Blair records in the 1930 Toledo Museum of Art exhibition catalogue that Yoshida produced only fifty impressions of this monumental print.

In comparison with the impression in the collection of the Toledo Museum of Art which has a saturated aqua-blue sky, the gradation of color in the background on this impression, with pale pink along the horizon and a very pale blue sky darkening to pale grey at the top, compares closely with palette of the original watercolor and the impression in the collection of the Fukuoka Museum of Art.

References:
Dorothy Blair, Modern Japanese Prints, Toledo Museum of Art, 1930, cat. no. 298
Tadao Ogura, Yoshida Hiroshi zenhangashu (The Complete Woodblock Prints of Hiroshi Yoshida), 1987, p. 80, no. 76
Laura W. Allen, ed., A Japanese Legacy: Four Generations of Yoshida Family Artists, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2002, cat. no. 3 Memories of Japan watercolor, cat. no. 15 Kumoi Cherry Trees print from Fukuoka Museum of Art
Carolyn M. Putney, et al., Fresh Impressions: Early Modern Japanese Prints, Toledo Museum of Art, 2013, p. 296, cat. 305

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