A couple weekends ago Ben and I wanted to see the Post-Impressionist show at the de Young, but it was all sold out, so we headed to the Legion of Honor for the Japanesque show. Watching a video on the woodblock printing process (spoiler: it is NOT easy) and seeing original prints and the prints/paintings of artists inspired by them (Van Gogh, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Whistler, etc) made me go home and pull out two prints Patrick gave me for my birthday one year.
I’ve been meaning to get these framed professionally, but really wanted to know who designed the prints. Tonight I finally did. Turns out they are Hiroshige designs. I did some fancy Googling (“woodblock,” “japanese,” “village,” “rain”) and found the first one, Shower at Tadasugawara. It’s from a series called Famous Views of Kyoto. It was easy to find the other one since it’s in the same series. It’s called something like Willows at the Entrance of Shimabara. Different sites call it different things. So, first task down. I finally identified them. Now, who can read Japanese? Patrick bought them from his old boss, who owns an antiques shop, so these might be originals…but they might not be. Each of the prints have the same characters written on the left side (see below) and I don’t know what it says. Looks more like Chinese than Japanese, though.
I feel like if I can date these, I can die happy…or maybe be content enough to frame them. Help?