color woodblock print in tissue-thin paper; with the artist's monogram at lower left, HH, and dated at upper right: copyright, 1905, by Helen Hyde., 1905
19 3/8 by 11 3/8 in., 49.2 by 29 cm
According to Shiloh McMurtrey in her 2016 dissertation on Helen Hyde, the subject of this composition was captured in a photograph taken by Hyde of a friend bathing an infant, although a preliminary sketch based on the photo shows the baby still in the bathtub.
This impression is a very rare variant of the design, one of only three recorded. In the standard version, the mother's kimono is decorated with a pattern of white stylized maple leaves against a green ground, while on this version the pattern is of green stylized pine trees against a white background. It is not known why Hyde choose to change the kimono, which would have required carving a new block, as the overall effect is quite subtle.
The other two copies featuring the pine motif are in the collection of The Simthsonian American Art Museum and the private collection of Darrel C. Karl. According to Hyde's studio record book the first three copies of The Bath were given to her aunt Augusta Bixler and her sisters, Mabel Hyde Gillette and Hallie Hyde Irwin. The impression at the Smithsonian was donated by Mablel's son, Hyde Gillette. It is possible that this print was one of the other two given to her sister and her aunt.
Tim Mason and Lynn Mason, American Printmakers: Helen Hyde, 1991, cat. no. 59, back cover (maple leaf motif)
Karin Breuer, Japanesque: The Japanese Print in the Era of Impressionism, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, 2010, p. 124, fig. 106
Shiloh McMurtrey, Helen Hyde and her "Children": Influences, Techniques and Business Savvy of an American Japoniste Printmaker, Arizona State University, December 2016
Smithsonian Institution (collections.si.edu), object number 1992.13.37 (pine tree motif, donated by Hyde's nephew)
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site last updated
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Scholten Japanese Art
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New York, New York 10019
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