The Yoshida family has remarkably produced three generations of woodblock print artists in Japan, many of whom have been central to the major Japanese print movements of the 20th century. The patriarch of the family, Yoshida Hiroshi (1876–1950), was one of the most prolific artists in the history of woodblock printing and produced nostalgic landscape images coveted by collectors in Japan and abroad. After his death in 1950, the Yoshida family artists embarked on a new path, adding abstraction and a multiplicity of foreign influences to their art.
While Hiroshi’s oldest son, Toshi, worked closely under his father’s tutelage, he struggled to maintain his own identity as an artist. Later in his career, he began to make prints that were stylistically very different from those of his father, including line-based portraits of women. Hiroshi’s youngest son, Hodaka, whose work underwent several radical shifts during his career, led the family into a new world of abstract prints. Having been instilled with a love for travel by his father, Hodaka conveyed his reactions to different locales in his artwork. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, he created energetic works inspired by his trips to Mexico. Fujio, Hodaka and Toshi’s mother, began exploring sensual abstracted floral themes in prints at the age of 62, while Hodaka’s wife, Chizuko, though trained as an abstract painter, joined the family tradition after marrying and began making prints. Ayomi, the current generation’s Yoshida, is the most conceptual of the family’s artists; her prints serve as records of the true focus of her work—the carving process.
This exhibition presents works that were a gift from the family to the Art Institute in 2012 and commemorates the impressive career of Yoshida Chizuko, who passed away last year.