Comparison of New Ukiyo-e Beauties: June, Irises
(Shin ukiyo-e bijin awase: Rokugatsu, Shobu)
signed Shiun with artist's fan-shaped seal, Kondo; the series title in the first cartouche on the upper right margin, Shin ukiyo-e bijin awase, the print title in the next cartouche, Rokugatsu, Shobu, followed by the artist's name, Kondo Shiun gahaku hitsu; published by the Society of Shin Ukiyo-e Bijin Awase, ca. 1918
dai oban tate-e 17 1/2 by 11 1/8 in., 44.4 by 28.4 cm
This print is from a collaborative series which had previously been dated to circa 1924 and credited as published by Murakami, however, an impression of this design is included in a set of twelve prints from the series found in the collection of the National Diet Library, Tokyo, which is dated to 1918, and slip of paper attached to an impression of another print from the series, May, Early Summer Rain, by Nakayama Shuko (b. 1876), credits the Publication Society of Shin Ukiyo-e Bijin Awase, which may have been run by a Mr. Murakami. At least four artists who contributed to the 1918 set also designed five additional prints which have been dated to circa 1924, representing April, May, July, August and November.
The series represents a new mode of woodblock print production in which the artists act as their own publisher, perhaps with patron support, in this case pooling their resources as well as their designs. Eleven artists contributed the twelve designs corresponding to the twelve months. The prints were produced striving to replicate the painterly affects of completed paintings rather than the traditional hanmoto (publisher) method utilizing black outline sumi ink drawings created expressly for print designs and then used to carve keyblocks and pull proofs which were hand-colored and annotated for the producing color blocks. Some of the original paintings are known to have survived, seven of which are currently in the collection of Darrel C. Karl, and compare remarkably closely with the prints, including the painting by Shiun related to the November design from the 1924 group, titled First Snow (Hatsuyuki).
Amy Reigle Newland, and Hamanaka Shinji, The Female Image: 20th Century Prints of Japanese Beauties, 2000, p. 100, no. 129
Andreas Marks, Seven Masters: 20th Century Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Wells Collection, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2015, p. 208 (regarding publication date)
(inv. no. C-3202)
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