Early Spring in Azumino

Early Spring

Early Spring in Azumino, Toshi Yoshida, woodblock print, 1989

Toshi’s print Early Spring in Azumino was completed in 1989, during his later years, and was one of the last of his prints to be signed by his hand before his death in 1995.  This breathtaking landscape captures, as many of his landscapes do, the reverent beauty of nature, and in this case the quite grandeur of the Azumino Mountains in the Nagano region. It is believed that the word “Charity” was inscribed on this before giving it to a newly wed couple, as the scene depicts a small temple that was a favorite place to be wed for many Japanese couples.  The print was done using traditional woodblock methods, as well as a zinc plate.  The image’s misty silhouette quality and the cool colors suggest sunrise, and its crisp details give contrast to the traditional subject matter.

St. Olaf College acquired this piece from Eugene and Margaret Skibbe, St. Olaf graduates of 1952 and 1953, who had received the print from Takashi Yoshida, one of Toshi’s sons, at their brief meeting in Minneapolis.

Rachel Sexton and Guhn Kim

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Rachael Sexton / / Guhn Kim