Barn Swallow on Branch of a Flowering Weeping Cherry Tree

Sparrow Feeding an Insect to its Chick

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Barn Swallow on Branch of a Flowering Weeping Cherry Tree

by Ohara Koson, c. 1905/1926

Wild Geese


IHL Cat. #2282

About This Print

Principally designed for the overseas market, Koson's prints designed for the publisher Daikokuya (Matsuki Heikichi) date from approximately 1905 until 1926. On this collection's print, which was originally printed with two other designs as shown below, the crop marks can still be seen in the top corners of the sheet.

An uncut sheet of three different motifs
Source: Crows, Cranes & Camellias: The Natural World of Ohara Koson 1877-1945,
Amy Reigle Newland, Jan Perrée, Robert Schaap, Hotei Publishing, 2003, p. 201.


Dating and Attributing Early Koson Prints 

Source: Crows, Cranes & Camellias: The Natural World of Ohara Koson 1877-1945, Amy Reigle Newland, Jan Perrée, Robert Schaap, Hotei Publishing, 2003, p. 19.
The attribution of Koson prints to the Daikokuya is problematic. In the first instance, the prints are not dated; this is analogous to the Kokkeidō works. The situation is further complicated by the fact that no publisher’s seal appears on the Daikokuya prints. Whiles a number of prints can be assigned to the Daikokuya based on their listing in surviving stock or sample books, many others cannot. Even today it is difficult to state conclusively if some of these works are in fact by the Daikokuya. Moreover, it is almost impossible to know whether Koson’s work with the Kokkeidō and the Daikokuya was contiguous, or if at some point he collaborated with both publishers simultaneously. In his 1909 sales catalog, Daikokuya lists an album of kachōga by Koson, whilst extant inventories by Akiyama [Kokkeidō] from around the same time (1905/1907) make no reference to works by the artist. Does this reinforce the generally held assumption by art historians that Koson’s activity with the two publishers overlapped in the early years of the 20th century and that Koson did in fact turn to working with Daikokuya after around 1907?

Source: Viewing Japanese Prints, website of John Fiorillo https://www.viewingjapaneseprints.net/texts/shin_hanga/shoson.html
There is some dispute over whether Shōson designed any prints at all between 1911 and 1926 while still using the name Ohara Koson. Some researchers have said that he devoted himself exclusively to painting during these years, but Koson was not, apparently, recorded in official lists of Japanese style (Nihonga) painters of the period, nor mentioned in contemporaneous ukiyo-e art journals. Nevertheless, around 1926 he began working under the name Shōson with the preeminent shin hanga publisher Watanabe Shōzaburō. 


Print Details

 IHL Catalog #2281
 Title Barn Swallow on Branch of a Flowering Weeping Cherry Tree
 Series 
 Catalogue Raisonné
K-28.5 Crows, Cranes & Camellias: The Natural World of Ohara Koson 1877-1945)

 Artist
 Ohara Koson (1877 - 1945)
 Signature
Koson 古邨 
 Seal Koson 古邨 in seal script (see above)
 Date c. 1905/1926
 Edition First (and only) edition with no publisher's seal
 Publisher No publisher's mark/seal but attributed to Daikokuya (Matsuki Heikichi)
 [Marks: pub. ref. 029]
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent 
 Miscellaneous 
 Genre shin-hanga (new prints)
 Format mitzugiri
 H x W Paper 9 3/4 x 5 in. (24.8 x 12.7 cm)
 H x W Image 9 3/4 x 5 in. (24.8 x 12.7 cm)
 Collections This Print 
 Reference Literature
Catalogue Raisonné: Crows, Cranes & Camellias: The Natural World of Ohara Koson 1877-1945, Amy Reigle Newland, Jan Perrée, Robert Schaap, Hotei Publishing, 2003, K28.5, p. 191.
last revision:
5/28/2020 created
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