Auf dem Sumidagawa-Fluss | Utagawa II. Yoshimune 二代歌川芳宗 | 1863-1941

On the Sumidagawa River | Utagawa II. Yoshimune 二代歌川芳宗 | 1863-1941

Utagawa II.Yoshimune is one of the last important woodcut artists. Large formats like this are rare for him, and this example is therefore very valuable. The treatment of the motif is extremely sophisticated.

The Sumidagawa River, which today has little poetry to offer in Tokyo, used to be a romantic river that was popular for boating. A young couple is enjoying the sight of the full moon. The two are only shown as silhouettes in the backlight. But the ship itself and the rudder weakly reflect the moonlight and therefore become three-dimensional - they no longer show the pure two-dimensionality of the figures.

The treatment of the water is also virtuosic: small waves can still be seen around the ship, but in the depth of the picture a delicate mist spreads over the river, which in turn transforms the group of trees at the back of the bank into a delicate silhouette.

The sheet was not mounted on a backing; only the many folds were smoothed out. The classic frame for woodcut prints was retained and a light cream-colored passe-partout was made for the image.

Dimensions: 51cm x 69cm (with frame) | Material: woodcut

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