Yoshida Hiroshi

Yoshida Hiroshi (Japanese, 1867-1950)
Fujiyama from Gotemba, 1929
Color woodblock print
Gift of the Rodbell Family Collection, 2014.16.36

Yoshida Hiroshi began his career as a painter and watercolorist, but it was during the second half of his career that he achieved acclaim when he became a print artist. Trained in the Western tradition of oil painting, one that favored one-point perspective, Yoshida Hiroshi traveled extensively in Europe, India, and the United States. Savvy, business-minded, and adept at self-promotion, Hiroshi soon established his own workshop, hiring his own carvers and printers.

Yoshida Hiroshi’s imagery, style, and technique were a fusion of his Western training and travel and his admiration for the unique traditions of Japanese ukiyo-e printmaking. He perceived a commercial opportunity to feed a market hungry for Western-style subject matter rendered in authentically Japanese techniques. As evidence of this desire for both national and foreign sales, the artist signed his prints in both Japanese and English. For many years, Yoshida Hiroshi would travel and sketch in the summer and fall months and then supervise the cutting and printing of his blocks during the winter months. Although his works represented scenes from all over Europe, America, and India, the Rodbell Family Collection features primarily his depictions of dramatic Japanese mountains and evening street life in Kyoto and Tokyo.