Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
This is an exceptionally beautiful and important series by Kiyochika for a number of reasons:
(1) we can see Kiyochika's mastery of 'kosen-ga' at its finest. Kosen-ga are paintings that express an effect of light and gradation of shadows as main techniques. To my knowledge no other series, earlier or later, expresses such perfection of kosen-ga as this series does.
(2) the beginnings of the Shin-Hanga movement can be clearly witnessed in this series, several years before Kawase Hasui, arguably the greatest Shin-Hanga artist, commenced his career as a woodblock print artist.

This series has an interesting history. Around 1913 Kiyochika was commissioned by the publisher Matsuki Heikichi to produce sketches for a series of landscape prints that were to be titled '100 Views of Japan'. By the time of Kiyochika's death in 1915 he had about 50 sketches completed. About 36 of these were made into trial prints soon after, however, Matsuki decided not to publish this reduced series until Kiyochika's works became even more popular. The Great Tokyo earthquake then intervened, damaging the woodblocks and delaying the publication of this series. Finally, a total of 26 scenes were published in 1929 after the woodblocks were repaired or recarved. There are also another 10 scenes from the circa 1913-15 trial print edition in circulation, but they are extremely rare (see examples below). Some of the trial print scenes were published in the final 1929 'official' series, but with recarved blocks.

Although the intended series title was '100 Views of Japan', the 1929 series was issued with the title 'Kobayashi Kiyochika Landscapes', and has been given the unofficial title 'Views of Japan' by collectors. Each print from the 1929 series bears, on the verso, the title and publisher's stamp together with the notation 'Kiyochika Fukei Shin-ga Hampu-kai' (Society for the Distribution of Kiyochika's Landscapes). Prints without any verso text are with little doubt 1915-1920 trial prints (please email me scans if you have any of these trial prints).

Update 2013: As anyone who has tried to collect prints from this series would know, obtaining any of the scenes is an extremely difficult and expensive exercise. Either the edition size was quite small, or collectors simply don't want to part with them. When prints do appear in the market they can range in price from $300 (when in poor condition) to $1500 each. Given the individual prints are as 'scarce as hen's teeth', finding a complete set of prints in their original series folders inside an official series album is almost the equivalent to getting 'blood from a stone'. Well I am happy to report that, after over a decade of searching I have finally secured a complete set of this series as issued by the publisher Matsuki Heikichi, including the album (see below). Although the full set cost me 'an arm and a leg' to secure, the scenes are truly exquisite and some of the finest examples of early shin-hanga to be seen, so I am thrilled to have finally accomplished this long wished-for goal.

Tone damage due to print folders
Owners of prints from this series will soon realise that most have some degree of toning. Almost all the prints in my album set have toning, from light to strong. It would appear to me that the folders used to house each print are made of poor quality paper (in terms of acid levels at least) and as a result the prints become toned over time. I carefully removed all my prints from their folders and now store them separately, and I would recommend other collectors to do the same.

Series album cover
Album face

Series title
Series title

Series album
Album

Album open
Album open

Print folders
Print folders

Views Of Japan (26-print series published circa 1929)

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Evening Snow at Tamachi, Yoshihara Embankment
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Asakusa Imado Bridge - Clear Moon Over Snow
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Showy Evening at Mukojima Kototoi
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Snow Scene Below the Embankment at Mukojima Mimeguri Shrine
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Distant View of Zenkoji Temple in Shinshu Sarashina
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Moon on a Chilly Night at Akashicho, Tsukiji
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Fujikawa in Snow - Mt Fuji on a Moonlit Evening
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Cool Moon Evening at Kiyomizudo in the Eastern Capital
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Kinoshita River- White Herons at Dawn
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Night Scene of Dogashima in Hakone
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Rain on Tsukimi Bridge in Tsukishima
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Cherry Blossom in Full Bloom in the Night at Mukojima
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Sudden Evening Shower at Atami in Izu
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Winter Moon - Kinryuzan Viewed from the Banks of the Sumida River
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: A Cloudy Moon at Haneda
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Akashi Beach in Banshu Province
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Heavy Rain at Ochanomizu Bridge
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Night Fishing at Kanazawa in Kaga Province
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Spring Colours of Sunamura
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Mountain Autumn Leaves in Myogi
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Sunset on the Ayase River
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Spring Rain at the Takeya Ferry Crossing, Matsuchiyama
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Noto Nanao Mirage
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Honjo Fujimi Crossing - Sunset Fuji from Hyappon-Kui
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Ushigome- Quiet Morning at Mitsuke
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Morning Fuji from Sunshu Okitsu
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Trial prints published circa 1915-1920, originally intended for the series 100 Views Of Japan, but either not officially released, or released in a re-carved form

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Morning View of Shinobazu Benten Shrine
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1913/14/15

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Hakone
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Snow Scene Below the Embankment at Mukojima Mimeguri Shrine
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Ushigome- Quiet Morning at Mitsuke
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915

Selection of 12 Seasonal Landscape Scenes (季節風景版画十二選)
Machine printed series of the Views Of Japan (number of prints unknown)

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Akashi Beach in Banshu Province
Series: Selection of 12 Seasonal Landscape Scenes
Date: 1930s

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Cherry Blossom in Full Bloom in the Night at Mukojima
Series: Selection of 12 Seasonal Landscape Scenes
Date: 1930s

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Cherry Blossom in Full Bloom in the Night at Mukojima
Series: Selection of 12 Seasonal Landscape Scenes
Date: 1930s

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Cool Moon Evening at Kiyomizudo in the Eastern Capital
Series: Selection of 12 Seasonal Landscape Scenes
Date: 1930s

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Honjo Fujimi Crossing - Sunset Fuji from Hyappon-Kui
Series: Selection of 12 Seasonal Landscape Scenes
Date: 1930s

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Night Fishing at Kanazawa in Kaga Province
Series: Selection of 12 Seasonal Landscape Scenes
Date: 1930s

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Showy Evening at Mukojima Kototoi
Series: Selection of 12 Seasonal Landscape Scenes
Date: 1930s

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Spring Rain at the Takeya Ferry Crossing, Matsuchiyama
Series: Selection of 12 Seasonal Landscape Scenes
Date: 1930s

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Spring Rain at the Takeya Ferry Crossing, Matsuchiyama
Series: Selection of 12 Seasonal Landscape Scenes
Date: 1930s

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Sudden Evening Shower at Atami in Izu
Series: Selection of 12 Seasonal Landscape Scenes
Date: 1930s

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Wintery Moonlight Evening at Tsukiji Akashicho
Series: Selection of 12 Seasonal Landscape Scenes
Date: 1930s

Artist: Kiyochika, Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Title: Wintery Moonlight Evening at Tsukiji Akashicho
Series: Selection of 12 Seasonal Landscape Scenes
Date: 1930s

The Views Of Japan: Scene Titles
(19 of the 26 scenes)


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