1950. Item #90577
Mori Yoshitoshi 森義利. [Untitled View of a Tokyo Market] [Stencil Printing]. N.p. 1950. Mori Yoshitoshi 森義利 (1898-1992), was born in the Nihonbashi area of Tokyo, into a family of fish wholesalers, whose roots extended deep into Edo shitamachi culture.He was to be the 6th generation of the family business, but it went bankrupt before he reached elementary school. From at least one point of view, Yoshitoshi was now free!
Over the course of his education and later apprenticeships, he went to art school, studied with the ukiyo artist Kiyokata, worked in and later ran a yuzen dyeing atelier, etc., to make a living. After he met Yanagi Sōetsu, the early enthusiast of the Mingei folk art movement in the 30s, he adopted many styles from that world and was profoundly influenced by the great stencil printer Serizawa Keisuke during the war years. The war and its strictures on the silk dyeing industry destroyed his business as a dyer. But he made due during the war, turning to art after it, living on a stipend meant to keep the traditional arts alive.
Before he turned to printing on paper in the late 50s, he experimented in the early 50s with such techniques as stencil printed monotypes on wooden boards. The piece at hand would seem to be of that genre. Opaque colors are stencilled on a sheet of 1/8" mahogany plywood, the board being abt 36 x 44 cm. The grain of the wood shows through clearly in the image space. Signed and dated.
This print/monotype does not show up in his catalogues. There are several pieces, done in the late 50s on paper, that resemble the style, but we have not found this image in the literature. Whether monotype or not, printed on wood as it is, it is a remarkable and rare example of his work in a Mingei style. By the 60s, as his fame grew, he turned to more fine art, largely ukiyoe-influenced images, bijin, actors and the like, and split with his disappointed muse, Yanagi Sōetsu. His wonderful voice expressed in Mingei style was stilled.
From both historical and aesthetic points of view, this example of his work is remarkable and extremely desirable and rare. In very good condition, in a glass fronted frame.