Cawing Crow on a Snowy Bough

Ohara Koson, Shoson, (1877-1945), Cawing Crow on a Snowy Bough; signed Koson with publisher's name (partially trimmed) at lower left, Hanken shoyu (copyright ownership) Nishinomiya Yosaku, and stamped on verso in English, All Rights Reserved, Y. Nishinomiya Kami Negishi, TOKYO, ca. 1930s. $4,800. Photo courtesy Scholten Japanese Art. 

NEW YORK, NY.- Scholten Japanese Art presents, Kacho Fugetsu: Natural Beauty in Japanese Art, an exhibition devoted to images of nature. The Japanese title, Kacho Fugetsu is comprised of the kanji (characters) for flower (ka), bird (cho), wind (fu) and moon (getsu)- and is collectively referred to as the 'beauties of nature.’ The theme of kacho fugetsu encompasses everything that is not of the man-made world, and reflects a heightened awareness of nature which is fundamental to traditional Japanese society and artistic sensibilities. 

So much of Japanese art is devoted to images of natural subjects (kacho-ga, lit. bird and flower pictures) that in some ways it is difficult to recognize it as a distinct subject. However, in Japanese artistic traditions nature is central to all schools and genres and kacho-ga has long been recognized as one of three distinctive artistic categories originally based on Chinese classification along with sansui-ga (lit. 'mountains and water' or landscapes pictures) and jinbutsu-ga (figural pictures or portraits) which is commonly portrayed in the form of bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful people).  

The exhibition will be comprised of paintings and woodblock printed works. An ink on silk hanging scroll by Watanabe Seitei (1851-1918), Autumn Night (Aki no yo), depicts stems of fujibakama (lit. 'purple flowers' associated with autumn) bending under the weight of their pale pinkish-lavender blossoms with a full moon in the background. The simple composition and the delicate brushwork illustrating the flowers and the moon quietly captures nature in a way that exemplifies the kacho fugestu theme. Seitei was an accomplished painter who was particularly well-known for his sensitive depictions of kacho-ga in paintings, book illustrations as well as designs for ceramics and cloisonné.  

The exhibition will include woodblock prints by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), one of the most famous artists of the 19th century who is perhaps more associated in the West for his prints depicting landscapes along the Tokaido (the road between two capitals of Edo and Kyoto) or cityscapes of famous views of Edo. In his time, however, Hiroshige also designed a number of kacho-e (bird and flower prints), although they were not likely issued in the massive quantities as his landscape subjects. As such, far fewer Hiroshige kacho-e have survived the ravages of time. The narrow-format print, Java Sparrow and Camellia is one such rare and sought-after example which depicts a variety of finch which were popular as pets in Japan. The expressive bird cocks his head ever so slightly on an angle while engaging the viewer's gaze. The poem at the top alludes to the bird's vigor: Brimming with youth, you splash out all your water, camellia flower! 

Java Sparrow and Camellia

Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), Java Sparrow and Camelliasigned Hiroshige hitsu with red artist's sealIchiryusai, published by Kawaguchiya Shozo (Shoeido, Eisendo), ca. 1830s. $7,800. Photo courtesy Scholten Japanese Art.

chutanzaku tate-e 15 by 5 1/8 in., 38 by 13 cm

The poem reads:

Wakasama ni
mizukobu shigeri
hana tsubaki

Brimming with youth
you splash out all your water
camellia flower

The Java sparrow is a variety of finch which was introduced as a caged bird in Ming Dynasty China and then in Japan by the 17th century. Also known as the Java Finch, Java Rice Sparrow, or Java Rice Bird, they feed mainly on grain- especially rice. Although considered an agricultural pest bird in some regions, they are a gregarious species and have been popular as pets for centuries.

References: Cynthea J. Bogel, Israel Goldman, Alfred H. Marks (poetry translation), Hiroshige: Birds and Flowers, 1988, no. 62
Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Camellia and Finch, formerly of the William S. and John T. Spaulding Collection, accession number 21.7958
Chazen Museum of Art, Java Sparrow and Camellia, Bequest of John H. Van Vleck, 1980.1877 

Continuing in the print format will be a group of works by Ohara Koson (also known as Shoson, 1877-1945). Koson was one of the most important and prolific kacho-gawoodblock prints artists of the early 20th century shin hanga (new print) movement. He began publishing prints with Watanabe Shozaburo (1885-1962) after the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, around 1926. Before the earthquake, Koson published kacho-e with Kokkeido (Akiyama Buemon) in Nihonbashi; Daikokuya (Matsuki Heikichi) in Ryogokubashi; and Nishinomiya Yosaku; always using the go (artist's name) Koson. When he began publishing with Watanabe Shozaburo, he adopted the go, Shoson. His prints are generally not dated and frequently without publisher seals. The exhibition will include earlier works signed Koson as well as later works published by Watanabe and bearing his signature Shoson.   

A narrow print signed KosonWhite-Fronted Goose Descending Over Reeds, published by Daikokuya circa 1910, makes an interesting comparison with a larger format print signed ShosonFly-Catcher on a Rose Mallow Watching a Spider published by Watanabe circa 1932. The earlier print, which was more simply produced, deftly uses a limited palette and subtle gradations of color to achieve an evocative image. The later work, published by Watanabe only two decades later, reflects a greater sophistication achieved in the printing process. Watanabe largely dominated the shin-hanga print market, in no small part because he produced very fine quality woodblock prints. His carvers and printers were highly skilled, and he invested more into the production by utilizing larger sheets of thicker (more expensive paper) and frequently more colors or gradations of color which added to the costs not only for pigments but also for the additional labor required to carve and print the blocks. 


Ohara Koson, Shoson (1877-1945)White-Fronted Goose Descending Over Reedssigned Koson with artist's seal Koson, ca. 1910.  SOLD. Photo courtesy Scholten Japanese Art.

o-tanzaku 14 3/4 by 7 5/8 in., 37.4 by 19.3 cm.

ReferenceCrows, Cranes & Camellias: The Natural World of Ohara Koson 1877-1945, Japanese prints from the Jan Perree collection, 2001, p. 174, no. K11.18

Ohara Koson, Shoson, 1877-1945

Ohara Koson, Shoson (1877-1945)Fly-catcher on Rose Mallow Watching Spidersigned Shoson with artist's seal Shoson, publisher's seal Hanken shoyu Watanabe Shozaburo (copyright Watanabe Shozaburo), ca. 1932. Price: $2,200. Photo courtesy Scholten Japanese Art.

oban tate-e 15 3/8 by 10 1/4 in., 39.2 by 26.1 cm.

Reference: Amy Reigle Newland, et al., Crows, Cranes & Camellias; The Natural World of Ohara Koson 1877-1945, 2001, p. 199, no. S35.3

Another print in the exhibition by the artist Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950) raises the bar for woodblock printing techniques even further. Numazaki Pasture (Numazaki bokujo) from circa 1927 measures nearly 2 feet by just over 2 1/2 feet (23 7/8 by 31 1/8 in.) and is one of the largest prints Yoshida ever produced and his fourth attempt at such a grand-scaled print. In order to handle the large sheets of paper he used three printers working in shifts that changed every five sheets. Although the edition was intended to run to 80 impressions, apparently only 59 were completed because the large prints were so technically challenging and expensive to produce. It's extremely unusual to find an impression in good condition not only because so few were made but also because of the large size they were rarely stored safely.  

Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950), Numazaki Pasture (Numazaki bokujo)

Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950), Numazaki Pasture (Numazaki bokujo), signed in sumi ink, Yoshida, with red artist's seals sairan (cutting brocade), and jizuri (self-printed) seal on left margin, followed by the date, Showa sannen saku (made in Showa 3 [1928]), followed by the title,Numazaki bokujo, the blocks carved by Maeda Yujiro, ca. 1928. Price: $22,000. 

23 7/8 by 31 1/8 in., 60.5 by 79 cm

Of the 257 prints that Yoshida produced in his lifetime, only eight were as oversized as the grand scale of this ambitious work. Although there were numerous technical challenges in producing woodblock prints on such large blocks, Yoshida and the artisans in his studio improvised a system. In order to maintain the alignment of the blocks three printers worked together to handle the large sheets of paper. The strength and stamina required to print across the broad surface necessitated that printers worked in shifts that changed every five sheets.

Dorothy Blair records in the original catalogue that accompanied the landmark 1930 exhibition at The Toledo Museum of Art that Yoshida produced only fifty impressions of this oversized print, although later Yoshida recorded 59 impressions (out of an intended total of 80).

References: Dorothy Blair, Modern Japanese Prints, Toledo Museum of Art, 1930, cat. no. 312
Ben Bruce Blakeney, Yoshida Hiroshi: Print-Maker, 1950, pp. 11-14 (on producing oversized prints)
Tadao Ogura, Yoshida Hiroshi zenhangashu (The Complete Woodblock Prints of Hiroshi Yoshida), 1987, p. 95, no. 103
Carolyn M. Putney, et al., Fresh Impressions: Early Modern Japanese Prints, Toledo Museum of Art, 2013, p. 307, cat. 319

The exhibition will present approximately ten paintings including works by: Watanabe Seitei (1851-1918), Mochizuki Gyokkei (1874-1938), Konoshima Okoku (1877-1938), Yamamura Koka (1885-1942), Tokuoka Shinsen (1896-1972), and Torii Kotondo (1900-1976); and approximately twenty woodblock printed works by various artists including Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), Imao Keinen (1845-1923), Takahashi Hiroaki (Shotei, 1871-1945), Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950), Hashiguchi Goyo (1880-1921), Kawase Hasui (1883-1957), Yamamura Koka (1885-1942), and Toshi Yoshida (1911-1995).  

Scholten Japanese Art is located at 145 West 58th Street, Suite 6D, between 6th and 7th Avenues. For the duration of the exhibition during Asia Week, March 12 — 21, the gallery will have general open hours (no appointments needed), 11 — 5 pm. 

Watanabe Seitei (Shotei, 1851-1918)

Watanabe Seitei (Shotei, 1851-1918), Autumn Night (Aki no yo), hanging scroll; ink and color on silk, signed Seiteiwith artist's seal Seitei; accompanied by tomobakosigned Seitei ga and titled Aki (no) yo$4,800. Photo courtesy Scholten Japanese Art.

painting 10 7/8 by 13 3/8 in., 27.5 by 34 cm - overall 42 7/8 by 16 1/2 in., 109 by 42 cm

Watanabe Seitei was born Yoshikawa Yoshimata in Edo (Tokyo), and began training with the artist Kikuchi Yosai (1788-1878) at the age of sixteen, followed by a brief period in the studio of the painter and lacquer artist, Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891). Six years later he was adopted by a literary friend of the family, Watanabe Koshi. In 1878 he travelled to the United States and Europe where he received a silver medal for a painting he submitted to the Paris Exposition. He remained in Paris for three years and became the first Nihonga artist to reside in Europe to study Western painting. When he returned from Europe he became well-known for his sensitivekacho-ga images which utilized Japanese techniques while incorporating some Western sensibilities.

Mochizuki Gyokkei (1874-1938), Playing Cat

Mochizuki Gyokkei (1874-1938), Playing Cat (Tawamureru Neko), détail; hanging scroll; ink and colors on silk; depicting a cat peering at a shrimp inside a clear glass bottle vase with a large blossoming peony, signed Gyokkei with one seal Gyokkei no in; accompanied by wood storage box with title and authentication by the artist's son: Tawamureruneko no zu (a painting of a playing cat), Gyokkei ou shin seki (authentic painting by Gyokkei), Mochizuki Gyokusei dai kan (titled and authenticated by Mochizuki Gyokusei [son of Gyokkei]), with one seal Gyokusei, and dated, Showa kinoto-u satsuki kichi shin (Showa elemental and zodiac year of 'younger brother earth' and 'hare' [authentication dated 1939], early May)SOLD. Photo courtesy Scholten Japanese Art.

painting 107 by 40 cm.; 42 1/8 by 15 3/4 in. - overall 201 by 60 cm.; 79 1/8 by 23 5/8 in.

Gyokkei's father, Mochizuki Gyokusen (1834-1913), worked at the Imperial Palace painting fusuma panels in 1855, when he would have been only twenty-one; and yet was able to adapt to changing times in the Meiji Period (1868-1912) and enjoy considerable recognition as an important Nihonga (modern Japanese) artist. Gyokkei followed the path set by his father, incorporating Mochizuki, Shijo and Nihonga styles while specializing in landscape and kacho-ga subjects. Both father and son exhibited their works at national and international exhibitions such as the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, and the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900. 

In January 1915 The International Studio magazine published a report from Tokyo under the column Studio-Talk (From our Own Correspondents) by Professor Harada Jiro (who would become the Director of the Tokyo National Museum) in which he discussed a backlash against Western influences and a revival in traditional Japanese architecture and interior decoration which he illustrates with photographs of several fusumapanels painted by Gyokkei for the home of Baron Fujita in Osaka.

Konoshima Okoku (1877-1938), Spring Night (haru no yo)

Konoshima Okoku (1877-1938), Spring Night (haru no yo), detail; hanging scroll; ink and color on silk, signed Okoku with artist's seal Okoku; accompanied by tomobako dated titled Haru (no) yo, and signed Okoku daiwith artist's seal OkokuSOLD. Photo courtesy Scholten Japanese Art.

painting 54 3/8 by 10 1/2 in., 138 by 26.7 cm - overall: 84 5/8 by 15 1/8 in; 215 by 38.5 cm

Konoshima Okoku was from a family that dealt in tea ceremony utensils in Kyoto. In 1893 he entered the studio of the well-established kacho-gaartist, Imao Keinen (1845-1923), while at the same time he began studying classical Chinese and medicinal herbs with the Confucian scholar Yamamoto Keigu (1827-1903). Although his interest in Chinese language led to an appreciation of Chinese verse and calligraphy, Okoku rarely painted Chinese subjects. Rather, his intense recordings of medicinal herbs and plants likely contributed to his skill in portraying the natural world. His first acceptance to a national exhibition was in 1899, and he became known for his subtle depictions of animal subjects. He was so closely identified with the kacho-ga genre he was assumed to take Keinen's place when the elder master stepped down from the Bunten judging committee in 1913. In spite of his prominence among Nihonga painters and his recognition as an exhibition judge, by the late 1920s his adherence to traditional motifs was considered outdated and he was subjected to steady criticism for failing to change with the times. In 1929 the art critic Kanzaki Ken'ichi (1889-1954) published a review of his career that was particularly harsh. Although Okoku withdrew from the spotlight of government exhibitions by 1933 and focused on poetry and calligraphy, in 1934 another art critic, Yoshikawa Takeshi (1895-1951) criticized the elderly artist's retreat as something that "today's art world will not forgive." Apparently Okoku was unable to find solace and in 1938 committed suicide by throwing himself in front of a train. 

References: Ellen P. Conant, Nihonga: Transcending the Past, St. Louis Art Museum, 1995, p.324 Michiyo Morioka & Paul Berry, Modern Masters of Kyoto, Seattle Art Museum, 1999, pp. 206-211

Tokuoka Shinsen (1896-1972), Red and White Fringed Poppies

Tokuoka Shinsen (1896-1972), Red and White Fringed Poppies (Hinageshi to Keshi), detail; hanging scroll; ink and colors on silk; signed Shinsen with one seal Shinsen; the tomobako also signed Shinsen with artist's seal Shinsen. $23,000. Photo courtesy Scholten Japanese Art.

painting: 131.2 by 41.6 cm. overall: 215.5 by 56.5 cm.

Tokuoka Shinsen (born Tokuoka Tokijiro), was from a wealthy family in Kyoto that nurtured his interests in traditional arts. At the age of 13 he became a student of Takeuchi Seiho (1864-1942) by way of an introduction by the artist Tsuchida Bakusen (1887-1936). After only a year with Seiho he was admitted to the Kyoto Municipal School of Arts and Crafts (Kyoto Shiritsu Bijutsu Kogei Gakko). A few years later in 1914 he entered the Kyoto Municipal Special School of Painting (Kyoto Shiritsu Kaiga Senmon Gakko). Although he showed great promise as a student, his early work was continuously rejected starting in 1915 by the government sponsored national exhibitions, first the Bunten and then later the Teiten. Discouraged, Shinsen left Kyoto but continued to submit works for consideration. Finally in 1925 he had his first work accept to the 6th Teiten. He continued to enjoy success at the national exhibitions, and in 1938 he was a judge at the Shin-Bunten. In 1950 he won the Japan Art Academy prize and in 1966 he received the Order of Cultural Merit (Bunka-sho). His work is included in the collections of The National Museums of Modern Art in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. His painting, Peonies at a Back Garden After Rain from 1927 was included in a group of works made into postage stamps in 2012 commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

Reference: Ellen P. Conant, Steven D. Owyoung, J. Thomas Rimer,Nihonga: Transcending the Past: Japanese-Style Painting, 1868-1968, The Saint Louis Art Museum, p.324

ExhibitedJapanese schilderkunst uit het bezit van de Vereniging van Vrienden der Aziatische Kunst (Exhibition of Japanese Paintings from the Collections of the Friends of Asian Art),The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, April 22-July 16, 2000

PublishedAziatische Kunst (Asian Art Journal), The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, March 2000, 30th year, vol. 1

Torii Kotondo (1900-1976), Summer Bonito (Hatsugatsuo)

Torii Kotondo (1900-1976), Summer Bonito (Hatsugatsuo), detail; hanging scroll, ink and color on paper; signedKiyonobu hitsu with artist's seal Torii, withtomobako signed Kiyonobu hitsu with artist's sealTorii, and titled Natsu kubi (summer-head)$2,800. Photo courtesy Scholten Japanese Art.

painting 14 1/8 by 18 1/4 in., 36 by 46.4 cm- overall 47 1/4 by 25 3/4 in., 120.5 by 65.5 cm.

Bonito fish have two season in Japan- the arrival ofhatsugatsuo or shogatsu (lit. first bonito) at the fish market in signals the beginning of summer when they are caught traveling from south to north. In the autumn they are known as modori gatsuo (lit. returned bonito), as they return from the north and migrate south for warmer waters during the winter months. 

Imao Keinen2

Imao Keinen3

Imao Keinen8

Imao Keinen9

Imao Keinen (1845-1923), Bird and Flower. Albums by Keinen (Keinen Kacho Gafu), ehon, 4 vols complete in original blue portfolio with title slip, Keinen Kacho gafu; each volume string-bound in ivory paper embellished with gold and silver flecks; with series title on the covers, Keinen Kacho Gafu, followed by volume title, Haru no Bu, Natsu no Bu, Aki no Bu, Fuyu no Bu (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter), and signed after the illustrations, Keinen Imao Kan Hitsu (painted by Keinen Imao with pleasure) with red square artist's seal, the colophon dated Meiji nijugonen, juichigatsu, jugonichi (Meiji 25 [1892], 11th month, 15th day), followed by the publishing details with publisher's name, Nishimura Sozaemon, the artist's name, Imao Keinen, and the bookseller's name, Yamada Geijutsudo, and their addresses in Kyoto; the last page signed by the carver, Tanaka Jirokichi, and the printerMiki Jinzaburo; 1891-1892$5,800. Photo courtesy Scholten Japanese Art.

portfolio dimensions: 14 3/8 by 10 1/8 by 2 1/8 in., 36.5 by 25.8 by 5.5 cm

Vol. I, Spring, 40 pages illustrated 
(31 numbered illustrations with 9 two-page spreads)

Vol II, Summer, 40 pages illustrated 
(32 numbered illustrations with 8 two-page spreads)

Vol III, Autumn, 42 pages illustrated 
(38 numbered illustrations with 4 two-page spreads)

Vol IV, Winter, 40 pages illustrated 
(34 numbered illustrations with 6 two-page spreads)

Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950), Kumoi Cherry Trees (Kumoizakura)

Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950), Kumoi Cherry Trees (Kumoizakura), signed in sumi ink, Yoshida, with red artist's seal Hiroshi, and jizuri (self-printed) seal on left margin, followed by the date, Taisho jugonen saku (made in Taisho 15 [1926]), followed by the title, Kumoizakura, with English title in pencil on the bottom margin, Kumoi cherry trees, and pencil signature Hiroshi Yoshida, with carver's seal of Maeda Yujiro (1889-1957), ca. 1926Sold. Photo courtesy Scholten Japanese Art.

23 by 29 1/8 in., 58.5 by 74 cm

This print from 1926 is based on a large watercolor painting,Memories of Japan (71 by 94 cm.), which was first exhibited at the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1899 and was purchased shortly thereafter by the museum through a special public subscription which raised $500 for the acquisition. The subject portrays the daughters of the artist Kawai Shinzo (1867-1936) viewing blossoming cherry trees at Mount Yoshino in the moonlight. Twenty-seven years later Yoshida simplifies the composition slightly for the print format by reducing the number of figures from five to two and removing foliage and grasses from the foreground. In order to produce such an unusually large woodblock print, Yoshida divided the composition into three separate sections- a technical feat which is impossible to detect on the end result. Given the printing challenges it is not surprising Blair records in the 1930 Toledo Museum of Art exhibition catalogue that Yoshida produced only fifty impressions of this monumental print.

In comparison with the impression in the collection of the Toledo Museum of Art which has a saturated aqua-blue sky, the gradation of color in the background on this impression, with pale pink along the horizon and a very pale blue sky darkening to pale grey at the top, compares closely with palette of the original watercolor and the impression in the collection of the Fukuoka Museum of Art.

References: Dorothy Blair, Modern Japanese Prints, Toledo Museum of Art, 1930, cat. no. 298 
Tadao Ogura, Yoshida Hiroshi zenhangashu (The Complete Woodblock Prints of Hiroshi Yoshida), 1987, p. 80, no. 76 
Laura W. Allen, ed., A Japanese Legacy: Four Generations of Yoshida Family Artists, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2002, cat. no. 3 Memories of Japan watercolor, cat. no. 15 Kumoi Cherry Trees print from Fukuoka Museum of Art 
Carolyn M. Putney, et al., Fresh Impressions: Early Modern Japanese Prints, Toledo Museum of Art, 2013, p. 296, cat. 305

Hashiguchi Goyo (1880-1921), Pair of Ducks

Hashiguchi Goyo (1880-1921), Pair of Ducksdated and signed, Taisho kunen hachigatsu (Taisho 9 [1920], eighth month) Goyo ga with artist's round'GY' seal, ca. 1920. $8,500. Photo courtesy Scholten Japanese Art.

dai oban yoko-e 26.6 by 40.7 cm

References: Katô Junzô, comp., Kindai Nihon hanga taikei, 1975-76, Vol. I, pl. 92
Kendall Brown and Hollis Goodall-Cristante, Shin-Hanga: New Prints in Modern Japan, 1993, p. 76, fig. 100
Nihon no hanga II 1911-1920, Kizamareta “kojin” no kyoen (Japanese Prints II, 1911-1920: A ‘carved’ private banquet), Chiba City Museum of Art, 1999, p. 124, no. 262 
Modern Japanese Prints: The Twentieth Century, Carnegie Museum of Art, 2009, p. 33 
Koyama Shuko, Beautiful Shin Hanga- Revitalization of Ukiyo-e, Tokyo Metropolitan Edo-Tokyo Museum, 2009, p. 165, no. 4-30 
Carolyn M. Putney, et al., Fresh Impressions: Early Modern Japanese Prints, Toledo Museum of Art, 2013, p. 83, cat. 9

Kawase Hasui (1883-1957), Golden-banded Lilies (Yamayuri)

Kawase Hasui (1883-1957), Golden-banded Lilies (Yamayuri), signed Hasui with artist's seal Kawase, the title on the left margin, Yamayuri, followed by the date Showa nijuninen saku (work of Showa 22 [1947]), with circular Watanabe publisher seal blind-printed in lower right corner, ca. 1947$2,200. Photo courtesy Scholten Japanese Art.

oban yoko-e 10 5/8 by 15 5/8 in., 27 by 39.8 cm

Reference: Kendall H. Brown, Kawase Hasui: The complete woodblock prints, 2003, p. 542, no. 495

Yamamura Koka (1885-1942), Snipes and Lotus

Yamamura Koka (1885-1942), Snipes and Lotus (detail), hanging scroll; ink, colors, and gofun on paper with details in gold and a dusting of mica, signed Koka with artist's seal Toyonari, ca. 1920s$3,500. Photo courtesy Scholten Japanese Art.

painting: 25 1/8 by 21 3/8 in., 63.7 by 54.4 cm - overall: 59 1/2 by 26 1/2 in., 151 by 67.4 cm

Yamamura Toyonari (given name Yoshitaka) was born in the Shinagawa district of central Tokyo. From an early age he demonstrated notable artistic talent. In 1896, at the age of eleven, he began studying traditional Japanese painting (yamato-e) with the self-taught painter and print artist Ogata Gekko (1859-1920) who gave him the go (art name) Koka. At the age of fourteen he had a painting accepted by a juried exhibition, the first of numerous professional achievements. He later entered the Tokyo School of Fine Arts (Tokyo Bijutsu Gakko) where he studied nihonga— modern Japanese-style painting. He graduated in 1907, the same year he had his work accepted for exhibition at the first government-sponsored Bunten show. By the time he turned thirty, Koka had participated in almost thirty art exhibitions. 

References: Carolyn M. Putney, et al., Fresh Impressions: Early Modern Japanese Prints, Toledo Museum of Art, 2013, pp. 238-239
Andreas Marks, Seven Masters: 20th Century Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Wells Collection, a forthcoming publication from The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, release date August 2015

Toshi Yoshida

Toshi Yoshida (1911-1995), Tancho Cranewith artist's seal Yoshida Toshi, titled in penciled English on the bottom margin, Tancho Crane, and in Japanese, Tancho Tsuru, numbered 580/1200, and signed and dated Toshi Yoshida 1988. SOLD. Photo courtesy Scholten Japanese Art.

12 1/4 by 25 1/4 in., 31.2 by 64 cm.