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SOZAN Japanese Woodblock Print SEAGULLS 1920s

$189.99

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SOZAN Japanese Woodblock Print SEAGULLS 1920s

ITO SOZAN

Seagulls and Cherry


Date: c. early 1920s, published by Watanabe, signed and sealed Sozan
Size: 6.8" x 15"
Condition: VG, uncirculated print, never framed
Impression: Fine, excellent registration and good surface texture, strong key lines
Color: Fine, deep saturated color and bleed through to verso
Provenance: from the personal collection of Robert O. Muller


Two seagulls drift beneath the blossoms of a cherry tree on an inland waterway. Rarely seen composition by Ito Sozan.


ITO SOZAN designed prints known for the Tokyo publisher Watanabe Shozaburo. Sozan's speciality was bird and flower prints, or kacho-e, although he also designed some bijin-ga prints. He began working with Watanabe in 1919 and continued to design prints through 1926. This happens to be the same year that another kacho-e artist, Ohara Shoson (also known as Koson), started working for Watanabe. It is not known if Shoson was hired to replace Sozan, or why Sozan stopped designing prints at this time. Watanabe's 1936 catalog included 28 prints by Sozan.


WHO WAS ROBERT O. MULLER?
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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