Shotei Japanese Woodblock Print Silhouettes In The Full Moon 1936 Hiroaki

Shotei Japanese Woodblock Print Silhouettes In The Full Moon 1936 Hiroaki

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Shotei Japanese Woodblock Print Silhouettes In The Full Moon 1936 Hiroaki:

TAKAHASHI SHOTEI (Hiroaki) Moon rising at Nokizaki Date: 1924, published by Watanabe, 1936 Watanabe Cat. No: 244
Size: approx. 6.8" x 15.1"
Condition: Fine, no flaws, uncirculated print, never framed, "Made in Japan" stamped in bottom margin on verso
Impression: Fine, solid key lines, nice surface texture, tight registration
Color: Fine, deep saturated color and bleed through to verso
Provenance: from the Robert O. Muller Collection (for more information see below) In this somewhat surrealist-style print, Shotei depicts two mysterious figures silhouetted by the light of a full moon. The small dock in the foreground, the country house and the bare trees all add to the dreamlike qualities of this Shotei masterpiece.

Listed on page 48, illustration #207, in the new Shotei catalog Syotei (Hiroaki) Takashashi, 2005, Folk Museum of Ota City; also M-36 on

Robert O. Muller’s love affair with Japanese prints began one day in the 1930s, when as a student in New York City he spotted a Hasui in a gallery window, and immediately arranged to purchase the print. As a newly wed in 1940 he went on a print shopping tour to Japan with his wife where he met the shin hanga publisher Watanabe Shozaburo and Watanabe’s stable of artists including: Kawase Hasui, Shiro Kasamatsu, and Ito Shinsui. He also met and befriended Hiroshi Yoshida.

After WWII, Muller continued to deal in Japanese prints, but he was also an avid collector with a keen eye for good art. Although the Muller Collection is best known for shin hanga, Mr. Muller also collected late nineteenth century prints and good reproductions of famous Edo masters.

When Mr. Muller passed away on April 10, 2003, he had left possibly the largest and finest collection of 20th century Japanese prints in the world, and the question of what would become of his notorious collection was a major topic among Japanese print collectors. The finest 20th century prints from his collection were given as a gift to the Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., and an exhibit was mounted. Other portions of the collection were sold at sale and still more remains with his heirs. Several books have been published about the collection.

Takahashi Shotei was born in Tokyo with the given name of Takahashi Katsutaro. At a young age he was trained in Nihon-ga , the traditional Japanese painting style by his uncle Matsumoto Fuko, and beginning around 1907 Shotei started designing for the Watanabe Color Print Company. Shotei was among the first designers to be recruited into Watanabe's stable of artists, which would later expand to include Goyo, Shinsui, Hasui, Kasamatsu, Koson and Koitsu among others. Many Watanabe prints were designed for export, primarily to North America, where the demand for all things Japanese was high in the early 20th century.

By 1923 Shotei had produced nearly 500 designs for Watanabe, when Tokyo was hit by the Great Kanto earthquake -- the worst recorded natural catastrophe in the history of Japan. The fires ignited by the earthquake raged for three days, and Watanabe's print shop and all the woodblocks created by Shotei and the other early shin hanga artists, were destroyed.

After the earthquake Shotei created another 250 prints mostly depicting scenic Japanese landscapes in the shin hanga style he had helped to define. He continued to work for Watanabe, but also worked with the publishers Fusui Gabo and Shooffero Tanaka, where he had more control over the finished print than was possible with Watanabe.

Shotei used a variety of names, signatures and seals during his lifetime. From 1907 until 1922 he used the name Shotei, and after 1922 Hiroaki and Komei.


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