Antique Japanese Woodblock Print Set entitled: Three Mice_Three Puppies by KORIN, OGATA
Dimensions: 15-0” x 10-0” (chuban mice print); 3-0” x 4-0” (surimono miniatures: puppies and mice)
Description: A fantastic lively woodblock print design by Ogata Korin. The image depicting Oban-size unsigned Artist Proof and two postcard size originals; one entitled: Three Dogs, signed and stamped, (1920s) published by Nishinomiya and the other original smaller print of the mice signed and impressed stamp with signed in pencil by Norin. Provenance stated that these were inspired by Korin’s masterpiece of Kano school simplicity showing three mice, two in sketch form and one in black exhibiting his unique delicate lines and simple Zen approach. Very finely printed in a graduated sumi-e brushwork, giving this print a painterly feel. Very Rare because it is an unsigned, uncirculated and larger chuban size ‘ARTIST PROOF’.
Provenance: We purchased this framed set at a shop specializing in woodblock prints called Ezoshi, Shinmonzen Street, Kyoto in 1998. We were introduced to the owner by a Japanese Professor and colleague knowing that the owner would not sell rare works to foreigners. Our colleague for over thirty years purchased this piece on our behalf. At purchase we were informed that this set was originally owned by Hasegawa, Takejiro (1853-1938), and sold at the closing of Hasegawa Publishers in 1938. Hasegawa was an innovative Japanese publisher specializing in books in European languages on Japanese subjects. Hasegawa purchased many originals by woodblock artists throughout Japan and employed leading foreign residents as translators as well as noted Japanese artists as illustrators, and became a leading purveyor of export books and publications for foreign residents in Japan.
(NOTE): The woodblock comes framed at no additional cost for we are in the business of selling artwork and not framing. The framing was prior to the purchase of the woodblocks from Hasegawa Publishers, and further updated by Ezoshi Art Gallery for the purpose of protecting the piece further from the effects of sunlight and other environmental conditions. The rosewood frame being original for the period has rounded corners joined with wood pegs to complement the design.
Condition: The pieces retain their original craft/workmanship showing a developed patina commensurate with age, some degree of toning and dullness that varies slightly from each print with good registration, solid key lines, and original color saturation and bleed through to verso. Apologies for the reflection from the acrylic covering the piece.
Artist Information: Korin, Ogata, was born and died in Kyoto, Japan, (1657-1716), Japanese painter and lacquerer, the son of a wealthy merchant who had a taste for the arts and is said to have given his son some elementary instruction therein. Korin also studied under Soken Yamamoto, the Kano school, Tsunenobu and Gukei Sumiyoshi; and he was greatly influenced by his predecessors Hon'ami Koetsu and Tawaraya Sotatsu. On arriving at maturity, however, he broke away from all tradition, and developed a very original and quite distinctive style of his own, both in painting and in the decoration of lacquer. The characteristic of this is a bold impressionism, which is expressed in few and simple highly idealized forms, with an absolute disregard for both realism and the usual conventions. Korin died at the age of fifty-nine and was buried alongside his brother at Senmyo-in, a sub-temple of Myoken-ji in Kyoto. His chief pupils were Kagei Tatebayashi and Shiko Watanabe, and the shop owner told us that appreciation of his work were largely due to the efforts of Sakai Hoitsu (A Japanese painter of the Rinpa school and known for having revived the style and popularity of Ogata Kōrin, and for having created a number of reproductions of Kōrin's work).
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