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Shinjuku Garden from the series The Face of Tokyo


Japanese Woodblock Print

Shinjuku Garden

from the series The Face of Tokyo

by Kitaoka Fumio, 1950

Asakusa Stalls, The Palace Plaza, The Palace Moat, Kan-eiji Pagoda, The Kabuki Theater, Shinjuku Garden from the portfolio Loving Service Seal Hanga

IHL Cat. #2020

About This Print

Titled, Shinjuku Garden 新宿御苑, Kitaoka presents us with one of the many tree-lined promenades in this now public garden that contains over 10,000 trees.  This undated artist's proof signed in pencil by Kitaoka, likely dates from 1950 and was released as part of the 1950-1951 five-part portfolio (each portfolio containing five prints), titled The Face of Tokyo 東京の顔.

This artist proof appears identical to the print in the collection of The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo pictured below. However, it uses a different paper than the other four prints in this collection, which were originally issued as part of the series 戦後風俗 (Sengo fuuzoku), translated as "Post-war Life and Customs", and then likely printed again for The Face of Tokyo five-part portfolio. The other four prints in this collection use a distinctive mica-impregnated paper.

KITAOKA, Fumio   1918 - 2007
4. The Shinjuku Imperial Garden
"The Face of Tokyo No. 2" 1950
woodcut on paper, 12.2×15.3 cm
 The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

The Portfolio The Face of Tokyo

This beautifully designed and, unfortunately, overlooked series portrays post-war Tokyo in the social-realist style that Kitaoka embraced after the war and later rejected, telling Statler "I rebelled against their [Japan's proletarian artists] subjugation of art to politics..."1

Five prints in the series, noted in the below list of titles in the portfolio, were printed in color and the remainder were monochrome prints.

For other prints in the Collection from this series see Around Ochanomizu (Kanda River)Playing BingoOutside Shinjuku Station, the West Exit  and Behind the Stage.

Images of the entire series, titles listed below, are in the collection of The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo and can be viewed at the website of the Independent Administrative Institution National Museum of Art at http://search.artmuseums.go.jp/search_e/sakuhin_list.php?sakka=601 

"The Face of Tokyo No.1", 1950
1.The Jimbocho Bookstore District 
2.The Kanda River 
3.The Unemployment Office in Iidabashi
4.A Night Game of Baceball [sic] (color woodblock)
5.The Nikkatsu Movie Theater in Kanda

"The Face of Tokyo No.2", 1950
1.Playing Bingo
2.Outside Shinjuku Station, the East Exit
3.Shinjuku at Night (color woodblock)
4.Outside Shinjuku Station, the West Exit
5.The Shinjuku Imperial Garden 

"The Face of Tokyo No.3", 1950
1.Sukiyabashi Bridge 
2.Ginza in Christmas Season
3.Hibiya Park (color woodblock)
4.Strip Show at the Nichigeki Theater
5.Under the Railroad Overpass at Yurakucho

The Face of Tokyo No.4" , 1951
1.City at Rest
2.Ginza at New Year
3.Ginza on a Rainy Day (color woodblock)
4.Behind the Stage 
5.Back Street of Ginza at New Year 

"The Face of Tokyo No.5" , 1951
1.Inside Ueno Station 
2.Step Leading to Ueno Park
3.Shinobazu Pond (color woodblock)
4.The Ameyoko District
5.Ueno Zoo

1 Modern Japanese Prints: An Art Reborn, Oliver Statler, Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1956, p.153.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #2020
 Title Shinjuku  Gardens 新宿御苑
 Series The Face of Tokyo (No. 2) 東京の顔
 Kitaoka Fumio (1918-2007)
pencil signed by artist "Fumio Kitaoka" in English below the image

F.K. within image
 Seal unsealed
 Publication Date 1950
 Edition AP (artist's proof)
 Publisher self-published
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - minor overall toning with minor foxing seen in margins
 Genre sosaku hanga (creative print)
 H x W Paper 5 3/8 x 6 11/16 in. (13.7 x 17 cm)
 H x W Image 4 3/4 x 6 in.  (12.1 x 15.2 cm) 
 Collections This Print The National Museum of Modern Art, TokyoM00107-010
 Reference Literature 
last revision:
created: 2/15/2019