Kiyochika 清親: Ryogoku After the Fire (Sold)

  • Sold.

Artist: Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915) 小林清親
Title: Ryogoku After the Fire 両国焼跡
Date: 1881

Powerful depiction of the area around Ryogoku Bridge after the second fire of 1881, which consumed Kiyochika’s own residence. Based on a sketch that the artist made in person, we see the scorched posts that once marked the entrance to the Ryogoku police station. In the distance are three traditional storehouses that escaped the fire, as designed. As Henry Smith II puts it “Dark wraith-like figures wander here and there, their clothing whipped by the persisting wind. The yellow glow of the gas street lamps, strangely undamaged by the fire, show that the time is near sunset”. Fumes of smoke rise in the distance, and the right portion of the sky is an eerie purple that blends to orange and grey, its unnatural sublimations covering the blue of the sky. The inscription lower right reads “Outbreak of fire on January 16 [sic],1881.” With a haunting, almost post-apocalyptic feeling that is very rare for Japanese prints. A scarce design in sublime condition with huge, clean margins.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Huge, untrimmed margins.
Dimensions: ôban (24.7 x 36.5 cm)
Publisher: Fukada Kumajirô
Literature: See Henry Smith II monograph from 1988, figure 51. See Smithsonian Freer and Sackler Galleries.
Signature: Kobayashi Kiyochika