Kiyochika: Heavy Rain at Ochanomizu Bridge

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Artist: Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915)
Title: Heavy Rain at Ochanomizu Bridge
Series: Views of Japan
Date: 1915 (1929)

A man in a small boat is surrounded by city and weather, steep banks rising on either side and a steel bridge and Nikolai Cathedral shown faintly in the distance. We are looking at the Meiji-era Ochanomizu Bridge that was erected in 1891 across the Kanda River. It was destroyed in 1923 by the Great Kanto Earthquake and was replaced in 1931 with a much different structure. The work has been printed without keyblocks and the driving rain and wind have obscured the details of the landscape, very effectively communicating the fierceness of the elements. The carving and printing are exceptional.  This series was designed by Kiyochika ca. 1913-1915, but only a few trial prints were published. In 1929  a total of 26 prints were issued, with the seal reading “Kiyochika Fukei Shin-ga hampu-kai” (Society for the Distribution of Kiyochika’s Landscapes).

The combination of Kiyochika’s designs with the unsurpassed skills and techniques of the early Showa-era printers gives these works a surreal and unique feeling, as if stepping into a nostalgic reverie.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Hinging remnants, verso, probably from original mount.
Dimensions: ôban (27.2 x 39.7 cm)
Publisher: Matsuki Heikichi
Seal: Artist’s seals
Signature: Kiyochika