Tanaka, Ryohei, b.1933

Much of what is most beautiful in Japan is quickly disappearing. Among these glorious ephemera are the thatched-roof farmhouses commonly seen just a few decades ago. Tanaka’s minutely accurate etchings lovingly capture the memorable qualities of these roofs—a few shrubs unexpectedly sprouting amid the straw, the thatching as neat and clean as a boy’s hair combed for Sunday school. Only someone who dearly loves these things could render them so honestly and with such fidelity. Trees in these prints seem to have branches even more threadlike than real trees, so finely are they etched against a stark sky or an inclined plane of straw. Tiles, slatted window covers, latticed screens possess a reality that seems to defy the city planner’s dream of turning everything into pasty poured concrete. The colors are somber, as befits the sad loneliness of their subject: umber, black, greenish gray tones are all Tanaka needs. One can only marvel at the delicacy of these prints; they belittle photography the way an old house belittles a modern apartment complex. Taken in whole, or in part from: Blakemore, Frances. Who’s Who in Modern Japanese Prints. Weatherhill, Inc: New York. 1983.

Artwork

Konpira Shrine, Sanuki Konpira Shrine, Sanuki #910462 Hasui, Kawase, 1883-1957 SOLD
Starry Night at Tsubosaka Temple.  Nara Starry Night at Tsubosaka Temple. Nara #WPKH29 Hasui, Kawase, 1883-1957 $325
Nakamura Utaemon as Hanako in Musume Dojoji Nakamura Utaemon as Hanako in Musume Dojoji #260338 Shunsen, Natori, 1886-1960 SOLD
Walnut Walnut #16100903 Hamaguchi, Yozo, 1909-2000 $800