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KOSON - Japanese Woodblock Print - Blue Iris 1926

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KOSON - Japanese Woodblock Print - Blue Iris 1926

OHARA KOSON (Shoson)

Iris


Date: originally published c. 1926 by Watanabe, this is a later edition printed from the original woodblocks, signed and sealed Shoson
Size: oban, approx. 10.25" x 15.5"
Condition: Fine, no flaws, uncirculated print, never framed
Impression: Fine, solid key lines, nice surface texture, tight registration
Color: Fine, deep saturated color and bleed through to verso

SHOSON created a only a few woodcuts of irises for the publisher Watanabe. This one shows a a group of irises in bloom against a pale red-orange sky. This type of iris (Japanese" kakitsubata) has long been cultivated in Japan, although it also grows wild in the country's wet regions as well as in Korea, northern China and eastern Siberia. This design is also known with a kingfisher in the upper left.
OHARA SHOSON was the student of Suzuki Koson. He painted flora and fauna during the period between 1895-1902, becoming recognized as a nihonga painter of the kacho-ga  (nature print) genre. During the Russo-Japanese war he produced a few senso-e' (war prints). The majority of his early prints (1900-1912) were designed for the foreign market and published by Kokkeido or Daikokuya. All of the prints from this period were signed "Koson." Between 1912-1926 he again devoted himself to painting. Using the name 'Shoson', he returned to the woodblock medium during the 1920s, working primarily with the shin hanga publisher Watanabe. Shoson did produce some prints under the name "Hoson" which were published by Kawaguchi and Sakai between 1930-1931, however the vast majority of his later period prints were published by Watanabe.

While the artists' prints had always been sold abroad, Shoson's success in the West was assured as a result of the 1930 and 1936 Toledo Museum exhibitions. More prints by Shoson were sold during these shows than any other artists' due to their artistic/decorative nature and the fact that they sold for one-quarter the price of the works of Yoshida and others. Shoson reached his peak in the mid 1930's. His work is realistic, based mainly on his own sketches and watercolors. 


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