Kobayashi Kiyochika Woman with Umbrella in Snow

Kobayashi Kiyochika, 1847-1915

Woman with Umbrella in Snow

embellished with karazuri ('blind printing') of the snow throughout, signed Kiyochika with artist's seal Shinsei, and with small oval collector's seal, published by Watanabe Shozaburo (1885-1962), ca. 1920-30s

oban yoko-e 10 3/8 by 14 5/8 in., 26.3 by 37.1 cm

On the seventeenth anniversary of Kiyochika's death in November of 1931, the leading shin hanga print publisher Watanabe Shozaburo (1885-1962) helped organize a memorial exhibition of Kiyochika's work at the Itoya Department Store on Ginza. The massive exhibition was comprised of over 600 items, with Watanabe listed as the lender of over a third of the works. Kiyochika's son-in-law, Kikuno Gentaro, contributed paintings, sketchbooks and seals. Although there is no publisher seal on this print, there is another impression of this design extant with the round Watanabe seal, and Watanabe was known to have issued other Kiyochika works posthumously, including at least one large format print which was released in a limited edition. This composition is likely based on a sketch or watercolor similar to those exhibited and published in recent retrospective catalogues cited below.

Watanabe's interest in Kiyochika's work reflects the artist's notable impact on developments among Japanese print and painting artists in the late 19th and early 20th century. Unhindered by formal training within any artistic lineage, Kiyochika's adaptation of Western influences, and reinterpretation of ukiyo-e would garner influence with artists of the shin-hanga movement. The landscape artist Tsuchiya Koitsu (1870-1949) entered Kiyochika's household as a live-in teenage apprentice in 1886 and stayed for 25 years, although he waited until 17 years after his master's death before he began issuing landscape prints of his own. The lithographer and woodblock print artist, Oda Kazuma (1882-1956), published an article on Kiyochika in 1918, and Kawase Hasui (1883-1957), arguably the most important and prolific shin hanga landscape artists, was adamant that Kiyochika had the greatest influence on his work.

References:
Oda Kazuma, 'Kobayashi Kiyochika to sono shui no hanga,' in Chuo bijutsu 4/8, August 1918
Henry D. Smith II, Kiyo-chika: Artist of Meiji Japan, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1988, pp. 12, 116-117
Hideki Kikkawa, Kobayashi Kiyochika: Studies in Light and Shadow of the Westernization of Japan, Seigensha Art Publishing, 2015, pp. 179-191 (watercolors)
Kobayashi Kiyochika: A Retrospective, Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, 2016, pp. 183-184; p. 277 (watercolors)
(inv. no. 10-4845)

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