Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

四季遊画 月華図案 Shiki Yuga Gekka Zuan (The Four Seasons, Gekka's Designs) [Minagawa Gekka's Unrecorded First Book of 51 Designs]

Kyoto (京都市): Matsuyoshi Yasaburo (松吉弥三郎), [1924]. First edition. Hardcover. Folio. [2] 48 numbered plates [1]. Original purple cloth boards with string-tied East Asian-style binding. Title is woodblock printed in black with beautiful modernist typography on a white paper label pasted on the front cover. Partial title written in black on the spine of the book block. Japanese-style double leaves.

A phenomenal book of design samples for textile dyeing, from pioneering Japanese artist and designer Minagawa Gekka (1892-1987). This extremely scarce publication, the author's first, includes a total 51 striking design images on 48 illustrated plates (most are full page). Included among the designs are 10 gorgeous color woodblock prints (including gilt overprinting), and 41 finely-printed collotype images (38 in b/w, 2 in cyan and 1 in magenta). As stated by Minagawa in the introduction, he was intent on using as many full color images as possible, as many similar design books of the era solely reproduced images in monotone collotype, making it difficult to get a sense of color, which is "the most significant part of the design". The theme of the images here revolve around the four seasons, as can be seen through the titles of many of the designs, with color playing a significant role those distinctions as well.

The content ranges from abstract avant-garde patterns to detailed traditional nature scenes, displaying butterflies, a wide variety of birds (including cranes, ducks and seagulls), plants, and all manner of leaves and flowers. Many of the images in this collection display a unique and singular fusion of these two styles, for which the artist was known, combining his background in both traditional Japanese art and his studies in western modernist styles. All of the woodblock images are titled underneath.

Minagawa would not receive national recognition until three years after this publication, when he was accepted in to the Eighth Imperial Art Exhibition, in 1927.

Includes an initial text introduction from the artist, and a table of contents. Text in Japanese.

String-tied binding slightly loose, with some light sunning and rubbing to extremities. Stained at the upper right corner of the front cover. Interior with some sporadic minor to light chipping, closed tears and/or rubbing to the left edges of the pages. Occasional minor to light water stains or foxing to some of the plates (mostly in the margins). The woodblock images have been hand-captioned in pencil in English along the bottom margin. Most images throughout still clean, vibrant, and unaffected. Binding and interior in very good- condition overall. vg-. Item #47529

* Minagawa Gekka (1892-1987) was a Kyoto-based designer of dyeing patterns, especially for the Japanese technique of yuzen dyeing. In 1911 he learnt yuzen techniques under Yasuda Suisen, and in 1917 studied traditional Japanese painting under Tsuji Kako (1871-1931), while studying Western-style oil painting at the Kansai Art Institute. From his various painting studies, he "developed a unique repertoire of motifs quite outside the traditional mold". He is known for developing several innovative dyeing techniques as well, including the groundbreaking sensai technique of yuzen dyeing, in which painting techniques are applied to fabric.

* Although there is a "1" printed at the bottom of the title label, suggesting the first volume in a series, it is believed, after research, that subsequent volumes were never published.
* Extremely scarce, with no listings found on OCLC or other Japanese library databases.

Price: $3,500.00

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