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Rare Modern Japanese Rakusan Tsuchiya Ukiyo-e Woodblock Print - "grapes" 1934 For Sale
RARE MODERN Japanese Rakusan Tsuchiya Ukiyo-E Woodblock Print - "Grapes and Japanese Tree Frog" 1934
Fresh Estate Find, this Art Deco Era Modern Japan Artwork ws done by Rakusan. Titled "Grapes and Japanese Tree Frog" and done in 1934. This print is the rare low contrast variant, described in detail below. The print has Rakusan's monogram and signature. Framed and Ready to hang.
About Rakusan and this Print:"Currently Documented Edition Signature and Seal Markings:
Edition I: 楽山篁子生 Raku-zan Kou-shi-sei + Seal B
Indentification of this design as number 111 is original to Rakusan who designated this woodblock print as the 111th design published in his main sequence. However, 111 is actually the eleventh of thirty-six woodblock prints in Rakusan's second main sequence series, 篁子生画選,Koushisei Gasen, lit. 'Koshisei's Selected Prints' (usually called here the36 Series).
The woodblock print of 111 was adapted from an actual-size original painting on silk created between late 1933 and mid 1934. All of the original prototype paintings for this series are currently in a single private collection.
111 was the fifth design published when Rakusan resumed printing36 Seriesdesigns around the middle of 1934. If Rakusan had chosen to continue publishing36 Seriesdesigns according to the order the designs were created, 111 would have appeared at least five positions later in the sequence. Like most36 Seriesdesigns 111 has the same signature and seal combination on every copy. Therefore, for 111 only a single extended edition I (which includes potential reprintings both before and after WWII) can be distinguished. It is usually only possible to date an individual loose print of 111 with edition I markings by listing approximate potential ranges of 1934-1941 and 1948-1955.
111 is one of several designs Rakusan printed using different colors and techniques within the same edition. All known copies of 111 are one of two distinct color morphs 111 (a) and 111 (b). The copies illustrated above are typical examples of each of these color morphs and come from dated sales only a few months apart in 1935-1936. Both illustrated copies are in the same pristine condition in the same private collection and were photographed at the same time and in the same way. The 111 (a) morph is characterized by darker, more saturated hues - note especially the dark underside of the leaf at the top center and the deep purple highlights on the grapes. The 111 (b) morph is paler and bluer throughout and with generally less contrast. It is important to emphasize that the color differences are original and deliberate, and that examples of 111 (b) are not just faded copies of 111 (a). Currently, more than twice as many copies of 111 (a) have been documented compared to the numbers of 111 (b).
The earliest36 Seriesprints were delivered tipped into recessed wells of presentation sheets embossed in their lower margins with the series title. Because all early edition I prints once had these presentation sheets, a copy which retains its presentation sheet must have been printed during the 1930s. Copies with presentation sheets of both 111 (a) and 111 (b) have been documented (including each of the examples illustrated here). After his supply of presentation sheets was exhausted, Rakusan distributed subsequently reprinted copies loose or tipped onto plain paper. A limited number of leftover earlier-printed copies of some designs on presentation sheets were still being distributed shortly after WWII, but by then most designs were only available as loose sheets. However, absence of presentation sheets is not diagnostic of later printings because many early prints have subsequently been detached from theirs.
The Rakusan project which produced 篁子生画選,Koushisei Gasen, resulted in two related series of woodblock prints. Each print of the36 Seriesis intimately connected to a group of prints with the same subjects in theFan Series. Together these subject-related prints in the two series constitute a theme. Each theme typically consists of a quintet of monochromeFan Seriesdesigns (one design in each of the five fan shapes), plus one polychrome,36 Seriesdesign which illustrates and defines the theme subject. The theme is labeled here by the original Rakusan number of its36 Seriesdesign followed by the subject. 111 is the36 Seriesdesign of the111 Grapetheme.
Inconsistencies in the signature and seal markings suggest that several themes, including the111 Grapetheme, were eventually published in a different order than the component designs were completed and assembled. However, the111 Grapetheme is one of the many otherwise entirely regular themes represented by a complete fan quintet and a corresponding color woodblock print. The111 Grapetheme containsFan Seriesdesigns in two different styles and with markings indicating the designs were created in at least two stages. In addition to grapes, animal life is included as a subsidiary element in four of the six designs, including 111.
At least some of these grape designs were adapted from sketches originally created in the late 1920s during the planning of design 32 of the earlier100 Series. In the title-caption for 32 Rakusan calls the grape illustrated there Wild Grape, 野葡萄, 野ぶどう, 野ブドウ, ノブドウ, のぶどう,no-budou, lit. 'field-grape'. However, the bird in 32 is an aviary specimen and the grape, which is indistinguishable from those in the111 Grapetheme, is probably actually a cultivated vine. The bamboo pole supports shown in 111 and 111-2 confirm that those grapevines are certainly under cultivation. Therefore the theme subject for the111 Grapetheme is identified here as 'grape' and not 'wild grape'.
Grape,Vitis vinifera, 葡萄, ぶどう, ブドウ,budou, is a fruiting vine commonly grown in Japan.
JapaneseTree-frog,Hyla japonica, 日本雨蛙, にほんあまがえる, ニホンアマガエル,nihon ama-gaeru, lit. 'Japanese rain-frog', is a very small Japanese endemic species. From the tiny size alone, all of Rakusan's tree frogs are identifiable as this species, but the identification is confirmed by the skin markings as well.
Size 9" x 14" inches
Frame Size 14" x 19" x 3/4" inches
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Rare Modern Japanese Rakusan Tsuchiya Ukiyo-e Woodblock Print - "grapes" 1934: $45