1922. Item #75070
[SKETCHTOUR GENRE] Nakazawa Hiromitsu, artist. NIHON TAIKAN. [Views of Japan] Tokyo: Bunendoo, 1922. 38 x 27 cm, oblong folio in size. 50 single sheet color woodblock prints of views, primarily in the Kyoto/Osaka area, with prefatory descriptions, in a tied portfolio with a woodblock cover. This massive work was undertaken by Kanao Tanejiro^ of the important publisher Bunendo^. His earlier HANSHIN MEISHO ZUE had been a departure for the book publisher Kanao into a new field - oban size print portfolios. NIHON TAIKAN was a direct challenge to the primacy of Watanabe in the field of shin hanga prints and an effort to redirect the genre away from its emphasis on bijin and the like. For this effort, he assembled some of the best printers and engravers of the day, Nishimura Kumakichi and Okada Seijiro^, and combined their talents with those of the artist Nakazawa Hiromitsu. Hiromitsu's work is at its best here. Less stiff than that of Hasui or even Yoshida, it carries the recreation in woodcut of the "feel" of watercolor to new heights. (See Scott Johnson on the `Sketchtour' genre for more on Bunendo^ and Hiromitsu.) In any case, this most ambitious of Bun'endo^'s landscape productions is also the rarest. Completed the year before the great Earthquake and fire of 1923, all the unsold sets of NIHON TAIKAN and the blocks themselves were lost and Bun'endo^ moved to Kyoto in an attempt to restore the company fortunes. This set of prints is very well-printed, though the preliminaries are a bit water-stained. There is occasional marginal staining to the prints as well, not effecting the images. The original portfolio with ties has been rather clumsily repaired, but intact. Unusual:.