Photograph of Yosemite National Park

Color Woodcuts, Japan and Europe

Kiyoshi Saitō, Sakurada-Mon Tokyo, 1964, color woodblock print. The Clark, gift of Mary and Robert Carswell, 2018.9.7

Japanese color woodblock prints, known as ukiyo-e, were unusual in the Clark's collection until recently, when an extensive gift from the Rodbell Family Collection established a presence for Utagawa Hiroshige, Kawase Hasui, Kiyoshi Saitō, and other admired printmakers from the 1830s through the 1960s. The unprecedented scope of the gift allows meaningful connections to be drawn with nineteenth- and twentieth-century European artists who likewise were inspired to work in the color woodblock medium. In a robustly reciprocal cultural exchange, lines of influence went back and forth, from Japan to Europe and back again. Printmakers in both places were invested in bringing out the most fundamental qualities of their materials: wood, paper, and ink.