Yamada Baske


Bridge in Misty Landscape

watercolor on paper, dated and signed at lower left, Yamada Baske 1923, with artist's seal Baske, 1923

11 1/4 by 15 1/8 in., 28.6 by 38.5 cm

Yamada Baske was born in Tokyo in 1869, with the given name Fukawa Jin Basuke, began his studies in art at the Furoko School, Tokyo. He immigrated to the United States in 1885, making his way to New York City where he studied with William Merritt Chase (1849-19116) at The Art Students League. Baske was back in Japan by 1895 where he was taught the artist Imamura Shoko (1880-1916) in Yokohama. Baske traveled back to Philadelphia to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts followed by two years at the Philadelphia School of Industrial Art from 1897-1899. By 1902 he was in Japan again where he established a small school, Yokohama Sukettchi Kurabu (Yokohama 'Sketching' School) and also taught at the Tokyo Academy of Fine Art. At some point Baske returned to the states and eventually settled in Minesota. The specialist Kano Oshima organized an auction of Baske's collection of various works of art at the American Art Association in New York in 1928. The sale of 527 lots included ancient Persian and Japanese ceramics, as well as an extensive offering of ukiyo-e and shin-hanga woodblock prints (the shin-hanga generally sold for prices on par with the ukiyo-e). The offering concluded with fifty-two of Baske's landscape paintings, most with titles identifying the subjects as Japanese although seven are identified as located in either New York or Minnesota. The last Baske painting in the group sold for $30, which is $10 more than what a Choki woodblock print sold for, although a Hiroshige 'Two Boats' Ohashi appears to have been the top lot at a (staggering) $135.

This painting was found among a small portfolio of works by the Japanese-American watercolor and print artist, Kakunen Tsuruoka. Kakunen's artistic training is a mystery-- the lore that he was entirely self-taught seems to stem from the lack of information about his formative years in Japan. However, the fact that Kakunen held on to this painting, and the similiarty to his own work suggest that Kakunen may have been influenced by Baske's ethereal painting style, or perhaps he was able to take classes with Baske at his academy in Yokohama before immigrating to San Francisco in 1905.

Ex Collection Tokutaro 'Kakunen' Tsuruoka (1892-1977)
(inv. no. C-1668)

price: Sold


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