Mar 11, 2022
Dr. Rhiannon Paget is the curator of Asian Art at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. Ms. Paget joins me on The Unfinished Print to discuss the life and times of mokuhanga printmaker Saitō Kiyoshi, war print production of the later 19th Century and early 20th Centuries and she speaks on kabuki prints through the years.
These topics are framed through the three shows which Dr. Paget was involved in, Saitō Kiyoshi: Graphic Awakening (March 14 -August 15, 2021 @ The Ringling), Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan (October 16, 2016 - January 8, 2017 @ the St. Louis Art Museum), and Kabuki Modern (November 13 -July 27, 2021 @ The Ringling)
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Dr. Rhiannon Paget PhD - curator of Asian art at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art own Sarasota, Florida. She was also a A.W Mellon Fellow for Japanese Art from 2015-2017, and wrote for The Japan Times.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art - This museum is dedicated to the arts, Western and “non-Western”from all periods of human history, focusing on education, and conservation. More info, here.
Saitō Kiyoshi (1907-1997) - was a Japanese woodblock printmaker and artist who worked in the sōsaku hanga style of mokuhanga. HIs fame outside of Japan was fairly comprehensive with his peak fame being in the 1950’s and 1960’s. For a comprehensive book on his life and times, Saitō Kiyoshi: Graphic Awakening published by The John & Mable Ringling Museum is an excellent source. Can be found, here. Lecture by Dr. Paget about Saitō can be found, here.
Cleveland Museum of Art - founded in 1913 and opened in 1916. It has an online collection, and open access to its works in its collection. More info, here.
Honolulu Museum of Art - dedicated to art and education focusing on arts from around the world and Hawaiian culture itself. More info, here.
Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) - was a U.S born sculptor and designer who traveled the world to understand his own works. He collaborated with many artists from all over the world. More info, here.
Kiyoshi Nakashima - an artist and designer who designed woodblock prints, in the 1980’s. His most famous are his melancholy women prints. Some can be found, here.
Karl Bickle (1881-1972) - was an ex newspaper man at the turn of the 20th Century. Bickle retired to Sarasota, Florida in 1935. He was influential in the opening of the Ringling Museum in 1945. More info, here.
Onchi Kōshirō (1891-1955) - originally designing poetry and books Onchi became on of the most I important sōsaku hanga artists and promotor of the medium. His works are saught after today. More info, here.
Paul Gauguin (1848 - 1903) - self taught artist, ex-stockbroker, travels to Brittany, France in 1886 where he sows the seeds of his Symbolist Movement. He is famous for his works made in Tahiti, perhaps now seen as a bit naïve and privileged, these works, were expressed through painting, woodcuts and the written word. He also painted self portraits, and landscapes searching for the spiritual via colour and form. The National Gallery has a very good history of Gauguin here.
François Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) - a sculptor of the human form, Auguste Rodin was a French artist who’s work took off when he was commissioned by the French government in 1879. One of his most famous works is “The Gates of Hell” a commissioned work for the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, a museum which was never built. For more information about Rodin, The National Gallery has a biography, here.
mokume - is a woodblock printing technique where, by using heavy pressure on wood which contains a heavy grain, the artist can reveal the grain in their work.
Kiyoshi Saitō Museum of Art - located in Yanaizu, Fukushima, Japan this museum is dedicated to the art and works of Kiyoshi Saitō. Opened in 1997, the museum holds rotating shows connected to Saitō’s works. Museum website can be found, here.
Boston Museum of Fine Arts - a museum with a rich history with Japanese artwork, especially woodblock prints. It holds the largest collection of Japanese art outside of Japan. Many of their woodblock prints are held online, here. A video on YouTube found, here, describing the MFA’s history, and its collections.
Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art - opened in 1984 in Fukushima City, Fukushima, this museum contains works from Japan and all over the world. The website is in both Japanese and English, and can be found, here.
Ms. Paget uses the Japanese words for certain woods which mokuhanga printmakers can use. They are:
kiri - a paulownia wood
keyaki - Japanese zelkova tree
Steady Gaze - is a print which Saitō produced in 1952, with two cats staring in different directions with two different backgrounds, one red (Animal) and one blue (Two Cats). I found another Steady Gaze cat print from 1950 and sold as a scroll. It can be found, here.
Edward Munch (1863-1944) - was a painter from Norway who is collectively famous for his painting, The Scream, painted in 1893. More info can be found, here.
Pieter Cornelius Mondrian (1872-1944) - a Dutch artist who’s work helped found De Stijl in 1917, a group of Dutch painters who helped codify Mondrian’s abstraction and industrial design. Mondrian has a wide spectrum of works and styles created throughout his career. More information can be found, here from the Guggenheim.
Aizu, Fukushima, Japan - is a geographical area located in West Fukushima Prefecture, , Japan. It has a long history and is one of the nicest areas in Japan that I have visited, Tourist information can be found, here.
Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900) - was a Japanese woodblock designer of the Utagawa School of artists. His work flourished in the Meiji Period (1868-1912) of Japanese history, a period of immense change politically, economically, and industrially. Some of Kunichika’s works can be found, here.
Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915) - was a woodblock print designer famous for his war prints on the First Sino-Japanese War (July 25, 1894- April 17, 1895). More info, here.
Toshihide Migita (1863-1925) - a woodblock designer known for his own print designs of the First Sino-Japanese War, kabuki portraits, bijin-ga, and landscape. More info, here.
Pearl Habor woodblock prints - are a series of woodblock prints produced in 1942. One such print, found here, was designed by Hasegawa Sadanobu III (1881-1963).
Russo-Japanese War (February 8, 1904 - September 5, 1905) - was a war between the Imperial Russian and Imperial Japanese military taking place in China. Information about its background can be found here at history.com, and here.
Andreas Marks - is a scholar and Mary Griggs Burke curator of Japanese and Korean Art and Director of the Clark Center for Japanese Art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
print panels - artworks, like woodblock prints, can come in various numbers of panels. Single panels is one print, diptychs are two panels, triptychs are three panels, quadriptych his four panels, pentaptych is five panels.
Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) - was a woodblock designer who began his art life as a painter. He worked predominantly with Watanabe Shōzaburō (1885-1962) designing some of the most famous woodblock prints from the Watanabe atelier such as Winter Moon over Toyama Plain, here.
Ogata Gekko (1859-1920) - was a woodblock print designer during the Meiji Period (1868-1912) of Japanese history. Famous for his war prints of the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895.) more info, here.
Yokoyama Taikan (1868-1958) - was a Nihon-ga painter who exhibited around the world. His work, such as Mount Fuji in Japan has been deemed to have been nationalistic and proto-fascist. A great book on the subject is, “The Politics of Painting: Fascism and Japanese Art during the Second World War (University of Hawai’i Press, 2019)
Hitler Youth - was a a youth organization formed in 1922 to indoctrinate children in Nazi propaganda, to be better prepared to fight in the German military. More info, here.
Teiten - started in 1919 until 1934, Teikoku Bijutsu Tenrankai, was one of several (Bunten, Shin Bunten, Nitten, and Shin Nitten) Japanese Fine Arts Exhibition’s held yearly in Japan. Teiten was famous for creating a platform for creative woodblock printing.
Minami-za - is a kabuki theatre located in. Kyōto, Japan. more, info here.
Yamamura Kōka (1885-1942) - was a woodblock print designer and artist who helped design many prints for Watanabe as well as for his Publishing Committee for Yamamura Kōka’s prints. more info here.
Yotsuya Kaidan - ghost play, predominantly performed in kabuki. Staged for the first time in 1825. It has been performed steadily in kabuki since its first performance. more info, here.
Heron Maiden (Sagi Musume)- is a Japanese folk-tale which is a very famous kabuki dance expertly performed by Bandō Tamasaburō V. Watch, here.
Bromide photography - is a type of early Twentieth Century commercial photography found in Japan , usually photos of geisha, kabuki actors, and sports people.
Junichiro Sekino (1914-1988) - was a woodblock printmaker and illustrator who studied with Onchi Koshiro (1891-1955). More info, here.
Yakusha-e - is a Japanese word for kabuki actor prints. More info, here.
First Thursday Society - started by Onchi Kōshiro in 1939 to develop sōsaku hanga. more info from Ronin Gallery, here.
opening and closing credit music - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Anything That's Rock 'n' Roll (1976) Gone Gator Records
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