Yoshijiro “Mokuchu” Urushibara, woodblock print, Camellias Dark Background SOLD P445

Urushibara Mokuchu (漆原木虫) (1888-1953), given name Yoshijirô, was a Japanese print maker known for his many black-and-white prints of horses. He lived in Europe for many years, and exhibited in the United States after World War II. Urushibara Yoshijirô was born in Tokyo in 1888 and studied mokuhan as a young man. In 1908, aged nineteen, he travelled to London. He was among a group of woodblock print craftsmen who demonstrated their techniques at the Anglo-Japanese Exhibition of 1910 in London. He remained in London after the exhibition restoring prints, making reproductions of prints and mounting scrolls at the British Museum.

Urushibara left the museum and began to work independently, collaborating with English and French designers on prints, notably with Frank Brangwyn. Urushibara was influential in the revival of color woodblock printing during the 1920s and 1930s in England. At first he did the carving and printing to the other artist’s designs, but later he developed many of his own designs. He took up the ‘art name’ of Mokuchu (木虫), and some of his print seals use this name. Urushibara returned to Japan in 1934. After 1945 he exhibited in the United States

Urushibara’s printing technique is subtle and refined with pale shades of gray worked into the main color areas of red (two shades), green (four shades), and blue (two shades). He used keyblock outlines only in selected areas of the design; otherwise, the colors were applied without outline and allowed to flow slightly for a soft edge effect (see detail above left). Color gradations were also used effectively to give depth and texture to the camellias. It is easy to see why Urushibara’s skills were so much in demand in London for roughly thirty years and why English artists would have become interested in exploring the possibilities of color woodblock printing for their own designs.

The colors are more muted than in the illustration, especially the red flowers which show more white at the petal’s edges.

Framed 20.75″ x 15.5″.

Price on request.