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KOSON Japanese Woodblock Print EAGLE ON A SNOWY BRANCH 1930 RARE


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KOSON Japanese Woodblock Print EAGLE ON A SNOWY BRANCH 1930 RARE


Eagle on a Snowy Tree Bough

Date: c. 1930s, published by Nishinomiya; sealed Koson
Size: o-hosoban, approx. 14.5" x 8.5"
Condition: VG, some slight edgewear, otherwise no condition issues of note
Impression: Fine, tight registration and solid key lines
Color: Fine, deep saturated color and bleed through to verso
Documentation: page 118 Crows, Cranes and Camellias: The Natural world of Ohara Koson 1877-1945, illustration 67 (K13.4), pages 86 and 175
Provenance: from the Robert O. Muller estate

An eagle with outstretched wings, on the trunk of a snow-covered pine. The original drawing and painting of this work are known. This print is also known in an edition which was published by Daikokuya.

OHARA KOSON was the student of Suzuki Koson. He painted flora and fauna during the period between 1895-1902, becoming recognized as a nihonga painter of the kacho-ga  (nature print) genre. During the Russo-Japanese war he produced a few senso-e' (war prints). The majority of his early prints (1900-1912) were designed for the foreign market and published by Kokkeido or Daikokuya. All of the prints from this period were signed "Koson." Between 1912-1926 he again devoted himself to painting. Using the name 'Shoson', he returned to the woodblock medium during the 1920s, working primarily with the shin hanga publisher Watanabe. Shoson did produce some prints under the name "Hoson" which were published by Kawaguchi and Sakai between 1930-1931, however the vast majority of his later period prints were published by Watanabe.

While the artists' prints had always been sold abroad, Shoson's success in the West was assured as a result of the 1930 and 1936 Toledo Museum exhibitions. More prints by Shoson were sold during these shows than any other artists' due to their artistic/decorative nature and the fact that they sold for one-quarter the price of the works of Yoshida and others. Shoson reached his peak in the mid 1930's. His work is realistic, based mainly on his own sketches and watercolors. 

Robert O. Muller’s love affair with Japanese prints began one day in the 1930s, when as a student in New York City he spotted a Hasui in a gallery window, and immediately arranged to purchase the print. As a newly wed in 1940 he went on a print shopping tour to Japan with his wife where he met the shin hanga publisher Watanabe Shozaburo and Watanabe’s stable of artists including: Kawase Hasui, Shiro Kasamatsu, and Ito Shinsui. He also met and befriended Hiroshi Yoshida.

After WWII, Muller continued to deal in Japanese prints, but he was also an avid collector with a keen eye for good art. Although the Muller Collection is best known for shin hanga, Mr. Muller also collected late nineteenth century prints and good reproductions of famous Edo masters.

When Mr. Muller passed away on April 10, 2003, he had left possibly the largest and finest collection of 20th century Japanese prints in the world, and the question of what would become of his notorious collection was a major topic among Japanese print collectors. The finest 20th century prints from his collection were given as a gift to the Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., and an exhibit was mounted. Other portions of the collection were sold at auction and still more remains with his heirs. Several books have been published about the collection.

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