Monday, December 18, 2006


He was the author of three books - Block Prints: How to Make Them (1929), Block Printing in the School (1941), and Portfolio of Block Prints (1932). He taught in the public school systems of the Bay area, and he also taught at the many art societies, including the San Francisco Art Association, the California Society of Print Makers, and the Prairie print Makers.

Rice wrote about his philosophy of printmaking and said:

...the viewpoint of the artist differs from that of the commercial printer. In hand printing, each print has a beauty and individuality of its own. The aim is not to produce editions in large quantities, all alike and uniform, but to obtain slight variations which give a personal character to each print. The making of color prints of this type is essentially a painter's performance. There is a great fascination about color experimentation. The real pleasure comes from seeing the same subject appear in different colors, the design gaining in interest with each new color scheme. Wonderful color effects may be obtained by continual experiments. It would almost seem, sometimes, that no block has ever spoken its last word when it comes to its final color scheme.1

rice was clearly not the only one who felt that way, as these charming images by arthur wesley dow, and yoshida hiroshi illustrate.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

between the earthquake and the war

arthur wesley dow created this work several decades before hasui kawase created his, but perhaps both were responding to the onrush of modernity, gatekeepers, both of them, of an imagined past.

or perhaps both just reporting on what they saw. like the impressionist painters, hasui didn't create his images in a studio, but rather on his constants travels in search of beautiful vistas. still preferring a kimono, he wandered the countryside, staying at inns and hunting for "live" views.

by the time he done this image of shichiri beach in soshu, kawase had already lost everything once: in a 1923 earthquake that killed 140,000 people, and that had destroyed everything in watanabe's publishing house (along with the work of many other shin hanga artists as well.)

everything was lost again in the bombing of tokyo in WWII. as they had once before, hasui kawase and watanabe shozaburo rebuilt again.