May 8, 2017

Block Printmaker Urushibara

        Yoshijiro Urushibara (Japan, 1889-1953) travelled to London in 1910 to demonstrate Japanese woodcut printing at an Anglo-Japanese Exhibition.  He stuck around thereafter and spent most of his working life in England and France collaborating with several European artists until returning to Japan in 1940.  He made a number of Japanese-style prints based on designs by European artists, but the ones I’ve chosen for today are, as far as the [possibly incomplete] record indicates, his own designs as well as execution.
        Although Urushibara always made color prints, I’ve chosen one in which the colors are exclusively different greys, thus giving more of a black and white sensibility.  The block of buildings on the right looks a bit like cut out stage scenery, but I really like the bridge and foreground.

        I absolutely love this owl, so deceptively simple.  The owl is silhouetted without any detail, but the complex branches of the tree require multiple blocks for their different shades of grey.  I love the coloring of the sky, and also how the wood grain shows, contributing to the halo around the moon, but also reminding us that this is made with wood.

        Alas, I don’t appear to have any previous U printmakers to share.

[Pictures: Ponte Santa Paternina, Venice, color wood block print by Yoshijiro Urushibara;
Night Owl, color wood block print by Urushibara (Images from Urushibara woodblock web site).]

A-Z Challenge, all posts for the letter U


Kristin said...

Urushibara is one of my favorites. I'm glad you are finishing the challenge.

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

I'm glad I've turned out to save one of the best for one of the last! =)