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 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 they were designed to do. 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”. 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.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Huge margins, which have some minor surface soil.
Dimensions: ôban (24.6 x 36.1 cm)
Publisher: Fukada Kumajirô
Literature: See Henry Smith II monograph from 1988, figure 51. See Smithsonian Freer and Sackler Galleries.
Signature: Kobayashi Kiyochika