Artwork Details for Koitsu, Tsuchiya (1870-1949) "Azumabashi"

Koitsu, Tsuchiya (1870-1949) - Azumabashi - 吾妻橋

Azumabashi - 吾妻橋
by Koitsu, Tsuchiya (1870-1949) - 土屋光逸

Artist:Koitsu, Tsuchiya (1870-1949) - 土屋光逸
Title:Azumabashi - 吾妻橋
Publisher:Shoseido - 東京松聲堂
Medium:Machine Printing - 印刷
Format:Postcard - 絵葉書, 8.4 x 10.6cm (image size)
Artwork Code:10808-Tsuchiya_Koitsu
Notes:One view of this postcard print and I immediately suspected it was by one of the mainstream shin-hanga artists, despite this print being dated to the 1910s (Shoseido published postcard items until around 1919). At first I suspected Kobayashi Kiyochika, or perhaps Kawase Hasui, but on viewing the verso I was pleasantly surprised to see a pencilled attribution to Tsuchiya Koitsu, along with the title Azumabashi. One could say that the attribution is just a guess by a previous owner, but I suspect not. Without some sort of "inside knowledge" it would be near impossible to recognise Azumabashi from such a tiny portion of the bridge shown on this print, yet indeed it appears to be Azumabashi (photos of Azumabashi from around this time show the same structure as shown here). I believe the artist attribution and title were written by publisher staff or the reseller, and what may be the number "5" is possibly the scene number. Not definite confirmation of a Tsuchiya Koitsu scene, but for the time being I'm attributing this scene to Koitsu. Please keep your eyes open for "shin-hanga" like scenes published by Shoseido.

This artwork is from my personal collection and is not for sale.

Artist Biography:
Born in 1870 near Hamamatsu City (Shizuoka Prefecture) with the name "Sahei", Koitsu moved to Tokyo at the age of fifteen. He had planned to apprentice with Matsuzaki, a carver for the artist Kobayashi Kiyochika, but instead, he became Kiyochika's apprentice and moved into his home to study art and print design. It is through Kiyochika that Koitsu gained his trademark skill in the subtle use of light and shadow for his landscape prints. Koitsu lived with Kiyochika for 19 years and was considered more a member of Kiyochika's family than an apprentice. He worked and studying with Kiyochika until around Meiji 36 (1903). In Taisho 11 (1922) he moved to his wife's place of birth in Chigasaki City and lived there until his death. Although Koitsu first designed woodblock prints during the Sino-Japanese war (1894-1895), and later worked as a lithographer (around 1897 to 1905), he only really became a successful artist after his chance-meeting with Watanabe Shozaburo, the founder of the shin hanga print movement, at an exhibition of Kiyochika's works in 1931 that marked the anniversary of Kiyochika's death. In 1932 he started to produce landscape prints in the shin hanga style for Watanabe, the first being titled 'Cherry Blossom Viewing at Gion', and he went on to design a total of ten prints for Watanabe. He later designed prints for various publishers including Doi Sadaichi (known incorrectly in the West as Doi Teiichi), and a few prints for Kawaguchi, the Kyoto publisher Baba Nobuhiko, the publisher Tanaka Shobido, and the publisher Takemura. Around the same time that Tsuchiya Koitsu began his shin hanga career, another artist by the name of Ishiwata Koitsu was also pursuing a career as a shin-hanga landscape artist. Despite sharing the same given name "Koitsu", the two men were not related. Their works are sometimes confused since both artists signed their works "Koitsu". However, the styles of their woodblock prints are quite distinctive, as are their seals.
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