Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950)

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Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950). Watercolor on paper measures 13 x 19 inches; 15 x 21 inches framed. Depicted is a grouping of fishing boats at either dusk or dawn. The quality of light is particularly brooding a mysterious. If you are familiar with Yoshida’s wood block prints, you will know he was obsessed with capturing the effects of indirect, diffuse light when it cast little or no shadow. This painting is a perfect example with which to demonstrate Yoshida’s area of interest and agenda. Signed lower right. Sheet is glued down to cardboad backing. Minor toning of paper with some very minimal foxing. The piece clearly has not been exposed to direct sunlight as it retains all of its original subtle effect. The piece dates from a time when Yoshida was primarily concerned with painting. Beginning in the 1920’s he focussed primarily on wood block production.

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Biography:

Hiroshi Yoshida (吉田 博 Yoshida Hiroshi?, September 19, 1876 – April 5, 1950) was a 20th-century Japanese painter and woodblock printmaker. He is regarded as one of the greatest artists of the shin-hanga style, and is noted especially for his excellent landscape prints. Yoshida travelled widely, and was particularly known for his images of non-Japanese subjects done in traditional Japanese woodblock style, including the Taj Mahal, the Swiss Alps, theGrand Canyon, and other National Parks in the USA.

Hiroshi Yoshida (born Hiroshi Ueda) was born in the city of Kurume, Fukuoka, in Kyushu, on September 19, 1876.[1] He showed an early aptitude for art fostered by his adoptive father, a teacher of painting in the public schools. At age 19 he was sent to Kyoto to study under Tamura Shoryu, a well known teacher of western style painting. He then studied under Koyama Shotaro, in Tokyo, for another three years.

In 1899, Yoshida had his first American exhibition at Detroit Museum of Art (now Detroit Institute of Art). He then traveled to BostonWashington, D.C.,Providence and Europe. In 1920, Yoshida presented his first woodcut at the Watanabe Print Workshop, organized by Watanabe Shōzaburō (1885-1962), publisher and advocate of the shin-hanga movement. However, Yoshida’s collaboration with Watanabe was short partly due to the Great Kanto earthquakeon September 1, 1923.

In 1925, he hired a group of professional carvers and printers, and established his own studio. Prints were made under his close supervision. Yoshida combined the ukiyo-e collaborative system with the sōsaku-hanga principle of “artist’s prints”, and formed a third school, separating himself from the shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga movement.

Hiroshi Yoshida was trained in the Western oil painting tradition, which was adopted in Japan during the Meiji period. Yoshida often used the same blocks and varied the color to suggest different moods. The best example of such is ‘Sailing Boats’ in 1921. Yoshida’s extensive travel and acquaintance with Americans influenced his art considerably. In 1931 a series of prints depicting scenes from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Singapore was published. Six of these were views of the Taj Mahal in different moods and colors.

The artistic lineage of the Yoshida family of eight artists: Kasaburo Yoshida (1861-1894), whose wife Rui Yoshida was an artist; their daughter Fujio Yoshida (1887-1987); Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950), their adopted son, who married Fujio; Tōshi Yoshida (1911-1995), Hiroshi’s son, whose wife Kiso Yoshida (1919-2005) was an artist; Hodaka Yoshida (1926-1995), another of Hiroshi’s sons, whose wife Chizuko Yoshida (1924- ) and daughter Ayomi Yoshida (1958- ) are artists. This group, four men and four women spanning four generations, provides an interesting perspective in looking at Japanese history and art development in the turbulent 20th Century. Although they inherit the same tradition, the Yoshida family artists work in different styles with different sensibilities.