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The Sun and the New York herald. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1920-1920, March 14, 1920, Section 7 Magazine Section, Image 69

Image and text provided by The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundation

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030273/1920-03-14/ed-1/seq-69/

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LAST October In Japan a sinRle liet
of pappr with the design of a woman
st&mpod upon It with wooden blocks
was auctioned for 7,200 yen. In United
Ptates money this would approximately total
$3,600. At the amc sale another sheet of
paper went for 6.000 yen. or $3,000. Those
prices serve In some measure to show the
tremendous advance in value that the Japan
sp print ban undenrono in the last decade,
fnr the first mentioned sheet was the print
nf a woman on a silver lnckpround by
I'tam.iro. The second one was the design
nf an actor's head by Sharaku. Only a
few weeks ko at the American Art Gal
leries the famous print collection of Arthur
luvlson ricke was sold for more than
SK0 (inn. Anion? the hlsh prices brought was
$2,400 for a pillar print by Toyonobu, $1,376
"ir a KlyonnKa, $1,150 for a Shuncho triptych
nnd $1.0BO for a head by Sharaku. These
prints would in all probability havo brought
less than half of these sums ten yeart ago.
The reason for those advances in value is
not hard to find. Originally the Japanese
print wan valueless In a monetary sense. It
rnuld bo bought for a few yen and often for
l.sv. Japan did not realize what a wealth
dt art she was giving tho world.
With the opening of Japan to the Western
World, which almost coincided with the death
of Hlrofchlge, the great master of landscape,
the appraisal and appreciation of Japanese
Print was Kit in motion. It was not until
rears later. In the 1890s, that a serious study
Vthem was undertaken. Then art collec
tors from Kurope and America began secur.
In? them at ridiculously low prices. Blowly
the best work of the. Japanese print artists
passed out of -its native country. With the
twentieth century Japan began to roallzo
what she was losing. The art that she had
taken as a matter of course wag receiving
such admiration in America and Europe that
u ...... v.vnrlit hnma tn her that
rClnnulled, Her art agents began
to fall over one another in tneir eagerness
to buy back, always at prices considerably
higher, the prints that had been taken out
nf Japan. To-day the Japanese art dealers
and collector are in tho curious predicament
of having to come to America to purchase
ihe bet examples of tho art that la most
Idiosyncratic of the Land of the lilsins Sun.
At every big sale In Now York there Is al
wyg a group of Japanese bidders anxious
and willing to pay large sums for prints In
order that they may send them back to
The value of the print continues to go up
Garden in Reach of
ONE of the first impressions that strike
the traveller from the Old to the
New World and .sadly is the non
' cultivation of vacant spaces, especially those
around (ne moderate sized house and cot
nce So much beauty and Innocent pleas
ure is lost for want of a little knowledge
and Initiative. True, the frequent extremes
f climate set up difficulties thai are not
'arpd within a, more moderate rone, but
those drawbacks can be neutralized. An
'xhlMtlon nf plants that can be grown with
Utile cure In a simple garden will be shown
t the annual International flower show
t0 held at Grand Central Palace, bcgln
""U to-morrow, and lectures on gardening
'H tie given by experts all thi week.
Sweetwllllams, hollyhocks, peonies lilies,
Pimpu irMa and a host of other beauties
-1 I I syp-- f VG".
Turn to
oy leaps and jump. There is no standard
by which it may be gauged except the eager
ness of the collector They become fanatics,
eager to expend their last cent for some
precious and rare example of a treat Japa
nese prfnt artist.
It Is interesting to observe Just what the
technique of the Japanese print Is. In essen
tlalH it Is similar to that once employed in
Kurope, the art of Durer and Holbein, for
Instance, The artist from whom the print
takes Its name draws hls design on trans
parent paper. Frequently ho merely desig
nates the colors to be used by blotches of
color placed on the drawing. It is then
turned over to the woodcutter, who pastes
it. drawing side down, on a block of wood.
This wood, wl$lch generally consists of hard
cherrywood or box. Is always cut lengthwise
In the direction of the grain. The carver
then rubs the surface of the paper off until
the design shows through quite plainly. The
cutting itself Is done with a knife, the two
edges of the contour lines being cut along,
then the superfluous wood is chiselled out
with small gouges. Finally the bits of paper
arc removed from the contour lines, which
now form little ridges, and the block Is
ready for printing. A block is cut for every
color which Is to be used In the print. Just
those parts which take a certain color being
left in high relief. Correct register of the
various blocks is secured by cutting an
angle In one corner of the key block, which
carries the complete design for the black out
line. In another corner a straight linn is cut
for a slot. Then each block Is carefully In
cised in the same way, so that In printing
the sheets of paper may be Imposed in such
a way that perfect adjustment of register Is '
mode sure.
The coloring matter, which Is always a
water color. Is mixed with rice paste and
carefully spread on the blocks with a brush.
The paper is then laid on a block nnd care
fully and etcnly rubbed with the hand or a
rubber. The skill displayed by these un
known men who took the registrations was
marvellous. They varied their colors by the
use of water, Intensified them, fused them
gradually to another hue as in sunseta and
backgrounds, made possible soft grayB that
deepened Into clear, lustrous black and added
gaufrago and Inset lacquer. It was a work
'ot love.
Among the rn'ors generally Used was
bent, a bluish red made from vegetable Juico;
tan, a brick red oxide of lead, which somo
tlme turns black with time, and Chinese,
cochineal red. Tho yellow Is generally a
light ochre. The blue Is either carbonate
of copper or Indigo. Intermediate colors
were Introduced as time went on.
Beginnings of the Print.
There are many styles of Japanese prints,
which, by the -way. the Japanese call nlsht
kiye. The single sheet prints, which are
rnost -mon aro caUed JcM Then
there are diptyches. In which tho design
covers two sheets, and triptyches, in which
It covers three. The pentaptych Is not un
known. The long, narrow strips are called
kakemono, and there is a still narrower
sheet called the pillar print. One stylo of
print on which tho artists expended all their
art is the surtmono, a small square sheet
used for a Now Year's greeting or special
Announcement. This style will often be
found loaded with gold, silver and copper
In a limited space one may but touch upon
a ew of the greater figures In this world
Almost Every One
are all ready to raise their heads at the
.first call of spring sunshine. It always
saves tnuch time and useless experimenting
to buy a simple manual, with hints of the
soil, the aspect of sun and shade suitable to
thoso flowers one wishes to cultivate.
One of the most effective flowering plants
Is tho great phlox, tho nasturtium and the
petunia, all easily raised from the seed.
And what cannot be done with Ivy the
English, the American and tho Virginia
creeper? All three can cover old tree
stumps and unsightly fences. The common
fern, too, and violet plant make Ideal back
grounds for borders.
Nothing Is more effective than the gera
nium nnd how hardy! Itose bushes of the
hardy kind are n. perpetual Joy and will
probably want only a straw covering in the
winter month". The scarlet rambler rose
Is wonderfully quick in giving its branch
UdJn blossoms.
America to Buy
of art. There were several hundred print
artists, many of them having schools of
faithful followers who often took the names
of theJr masters. Tho great figures among
the primitives were Moronobu, Toril Klyono
bu 1, Masanobu, Toyonobu and Kiyomltsu.
Their principal aim was decorative.
Hlshlkawa Moronobu, supposed to have
been born In 1625, was the son of a famous
embroiderer. Originally a painter, ho soon
turned to the nrt of tho print. Under the
guidance of his genius tho UMove (or "pict
ures of the passing world") school received
great Impetus. It was he who changed the
Mock print method Into an art. About
1660 he began to Illustrate books by means
of blocks, and the number of broadsides he
issued are Innumerable. His work Is all
In black nnd white, and the simplicity and
masterful composition that he put Into his
work makes all his prints the delight of the
collector. His figures, drawn with a great
sparseness of line, fairly quiver with life.
With Torll Klyonobu I. begins the. great
Torli lines of painters. Ho was born in
1614 and died In 1729. Ho made as his
special province tho depiction of actors and
heroes ot history. Arthur Davison Ficke
in his Ohatx on Japanese Print says: "His
bold and gigantic style of drawing lends
some probability to the story that ho was.
whon he first came to Yeddo, a painter of
huge theatrical signboards or posters for
the exteriors of theatres." There Is a dash
about his brush work that suggests speed
In workmanship. Although many color
prints are signed by his name It is doubtful
that he used color blocks.
Masanobu carried the art of the print on
Dy inventing tho two color process,
in 1685, he lived until nbout 1764, a life that
took in great technical advancements of the
print. Most of Masanobu's early work con
sisted of book illustrations, and parallel with
them he produced a number of ion-ye or
large single sheet prints In black and white.
About 1720 ho Is said to havo invented the
urutM-ye, or lacquer print. It was In the
year 1742 that he perfected the two color
system, using two blocks besides tho key
block. The art of Masanobu Is based upon
the early primitives, but It Is not as austere.
He Injected a graclousness Into his figures
that humanized them greatly;
Toyonobu and Kiyomltsu, last of the
great primitives, were the experimenters
nd founders of th art of th print. Toyo
SI Ik.
nobu was horn In 1711 and lived until 1785.
There Is a loftiness and beauty about his
work that Is unmatched, His figures carry
a sense of majesty they nppear to move
with slow and solemn steps balance, repose
and strength aro qualities of his pictures.
Toyonobu devoted himself to the drawing
of the nude more than any other artist of
his time. Tho Japanese mind appears to
be quite antagonistic to tho nude in art and
it Is rarely to bo found.
Kiyomltsu, who was born in 1735 and died
In 1785, was a rather formal artist. Most of
his drawings were compressed into patterns.
Ills Is stylistic and marked by many man
nerisms. He may be described as the last of
tho primitives, for after him tho print was
an established form.
The Work of Hrunobu.
With tho experiments in polychrome print
ing of Harunobu comes the great color
period. Ily 1765 he was using eight blocks
and it Is estimated that at times he used
as high as fifteen. Harunobu was born about
1725 and died In 1770. His work is especially
valuable to-day and goes at extremely high
prices. It Is marked by an aristocratic
quality and grace of line that aro almost per
fect He was essentially the painter of
youth, the delicious figures of his young girls
being one of tho rare beautlos of Japanese
Following Harunobu wo may note the
names of Korlusal, Shunsho and Buncha
Korlusal's llfo is shrouded in mist, but he Is
known to have been a samurai. His work
Is placed between 1770 and 1781. In his largo
sheets ho secures an elaborate magnlflcenco
that is quite now. He was also famous as
a pillar print artist. Shunsho, born in 1726,
dying in 1792, Is famed for his singlo figures
of actors. The strength and characteriza
tion that ho put into his drawing are unique.
Buncho followed in the samo path. He also
was a delineator of actors. There is an
awkwardness about some of his figures that
appears consciously aimed at.
From this time on tho number of famous
print artists is bewildering. One may merely
select a few of tho names, picking those that
appear to loom like mountains over the
others. As representative a group as any
should bo tho names of Kiyonaga, Yelshl,
Utamaro, Sharaku, Toyokunl. Hokusal and
Hiroshclge. Kiyonaga dominated his period.
He was born in 1742 and died as late as
1114. Hi unforatUhl ftguMi, t&U, strong,
14, 1920.
Own Art Prints
i i
stately, nre almost Olympian. Ills womei
might be daughters of tho gods; his men tht
sons of Apollo, for a Greek love of the
human form animates them. The beautiful
work of Yelshl carries on the traditions of
Klybnaga. His women are softer creations,
ihelr aloofness Is not so apparent, but they
move with a statcllncss of tho past.
With L'Jamaro we come'to the most won
derful figure among Japanese print artists.
Tho sinuous, voluptuous figures of his
languid oirans (courtesans) make him the
supreme poet of passion among print artists.
He Is almost pre-Kaphaelltc at times; his
voshlwara beauties suggest ItosBettl's
women. I'tamaro was born In 175S and he
died In 1806, with him dying the great days
3f the Japanese print.
Rut two names, both of them perhaps
more widely known to the general reader
and lover of art forms than any others In
Japanese art, remain: Hokusal and Hlro
shlge. Hokusal, the Old Man Mad With
IWntlng, was extrcfhely versatile, but his
Case Like Lansing's
In Washington's Time
Edmund Randolph Forced to Resign After
Treaty Fight and Much Bitterness-Resulted
HE recent controversy between Pres
ident Wilson and former Secretary
of State Lansing Is not the first In
which a President ot the United States has
differod with his senior Cabinet officer dur
ing a treaty fight with similar consequonces.
Under circumstances similar In many re
spects to thoso which mark the disagree
ment between President Wilson and Mr.
tansluc Oorire Washington In 1795 forced
tho resignation of Secretary of State Ed
mund Randolph. While the charges against
Rindolph that brought about the displeas
ure of tho Chief Executive were of a much
grnver nature than thoso of which tho pub
lic was informed In tho Lansing case, It
is nn interesting fact that historians of later
years havo almost unanimously agreed in
a vindication of Randolph.
Tho elrcumstnnces of the Washington
Randolph controversy came to light again
during some recent research work by offi
cials of the Bulgrave Institution in prepara
tion for the last Washington Day dinner.
In 1795 President Washington, like Pres
ident Wilson, had a treaty fight on his
hands. John Jay, tho American plenipo
tentiary, had returned from Great Britain
with tho formal treaty, incorporated In
which was one particular article that gave
great offence to the sensibilities of the new
This was Article XII., which permitted
trade In American vessels between the Brit
ish West Indies and the United States, but
at the same time forbade the new nation to
export sugar, molasses and cotton from the
West Indies or the United States to any
port In the world. The Senate, after much
deliberation behind closed doors, finally
ratified the treaty, but with a reservation.
The offensive article was stricken out.
Wiuhington Wantad Treaty.
Great Britain at that time was at war
with Franco. There was a French party of
considerable proportions In the United States,
which protested for ob'Ious reasons against
the treaty. But Washington decided that
the Instrument was the best that could bo
evolved under tho circumstances, and de
yplto considerable national opposition gave
It his strong support.
Whllo the treaty fight was at Us height a
British warship Intercepted a French pri
vateer and took from among the ship's
papers a confidential message to the French
Foreign Office from M. Fauchet, tho French
Minister to the United States. This des
patch, which was sent by the British to
Washington, charged on Its face that Sec
tary Randolph had made a suggestion to
the French Minister that in consideration
of money payments the support of himself
and his three fellow Cabinet members could
ho had for French sentiment during the
whiskey rebellion of 1794.
Tht ptMago In th dtiptteh at the
landscapes remain his greatest triumphs.
He died in 1849, aged 89 years. Hlroshtge.
born in 1796, died In 1858. Both of these
men were extremely prodigal In their out
put and loved (o draw tho daily occurrences
of the common life about them, finding in
spiration In thoso tasks of housework and
labor that the artists who had gone before
scorned to touch. With them the work of
the Japanese print artist may be said to
have como to an end.
French Minister that aroused the suspicions
of Washington and the British read:
"Two or threo days before tho proclama
tion (relating to the whiskey rebellion) was
published, and, of course, beforo the Cabinet
had resolved upon its measures, tho Secre
tary of State came to mv houso. All his
countenance was grief.
'"It Is all over,' he said to me. 'A civil
war Is about to ravage our unhappy coun
try. Four men by their talents, their Influ
ence and their energy may save It. But as
debtors of English mrrrhnnts they will be
deprived of their liberty If they take the
smallest step. Can you lend them .instan
taneously funds to shtltei them from Eng
land 7'
"It was Impossible for mo to make a sat
isfactory answer. You know rriy want of
power and deficiency In pecuniary means.
. . . Thus the consciences nf the pre
tonded patriots of America have already
their price. What will be tho old age of
this Government if It Is already thus de
crepit?" s
Waited for Ratification.
This document was In Gen. Washington's
hands for some time, but he 'took no action
until the treaty with England was ratified
by tho Senate, which was on August 18,
1795. The next day, August 19, Secretary
Randolph was Invited to call upon the Presi
dent. When ho entered tho latter's room
there were also present Secretary of War
Pickering' and Secretary of the Treasury
The despatch to the French Minister was
handed to Secretary Randolph by tho Presi
dent, and in the presence of his two Cabinet
colleagues he was asked for an explanation.
Randolph took offence at the presence of
Pickering and Wolcott and left hurriedly,
saying he would resiun. Ills resignation
was receved tho following day and was ac
cepted by tho President, who, however,
"While you nre In pursuit of means to
remove the strong suspicion arising from
this letter, no disclosure of Its contentx will
be made by me, nnd I will enjoin tho same
upon the public officers who aro acquainted
with the purport of it.
"No man would rejoice more than I to
find the suspicions which have resulted from
the Intercepted letter wero unequivocally
and honorably removed."
In tho preparation of a brief by which
he sought to prove his Innocence Haniloluh
became exceedingly hitter In the Intensity of
his own defence. He wrote to President
Washington asking for certain documents, to
which the latter replied:
''I have directed that you shall have the
Inspection of my letter of July 22, and you
arc at full liberty to fiuhllsh without reserve
any and every private nnd confidential letter
I ever wrote yon: nay more, every word I
ever uttered to you or In your hearing, from
whence you may derive any advantage In
your vindication."

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