HIROSHI YOSHIDA (1876-1950)He was born on September 19, 1876 in Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture. At the age of 15, he was adopted by Yoshida Kasaburo, his art teacher at school who noticed his talent for painting. When he was 17, he moved to Kyoto and studied with Tamura Soryu, who was a teacher of Kasaburo. At the age of 18, he moved to Tokyo where he enrolled in Fudosha, Koyama Shotaro’s private school. When he was 22, he entered two paintings into the 10th Anniversary Exhibition of Meiji Bijutsukai.
In 1899, he left for the United States, visiting San Francisco and Detroit. He returned to the States again in 1900. He held a two-person Japanese painters’ show at the Boston Museum of Art. He traveled to England, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. In 1901, he was in the States again and exhibited his work at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington. D.C.
In 1902, the Meiji Bijutsukai was re-established as Taiheiyo Gakai. Yoshida entered 13 oil paintings in that exhibition. From 1904 to 1906, he held numerous exhibitions in the States. He also traveled to Europe in 1906 and sketched Jungfrau and the Matterhorn. He married Fujio in 1907.
In 1908, he and Fujio exhibited 226 works on May 16 as a special display at the 6th Taiheiyo Gakai Exhibition. During the same year, he held several exhibitions
in Japan. In 1909, he left on a mountain-sketching trip to Etchu, Tateyama. He entered “Flower of Beauty”, “Snow of a Thousand Years”, and “Above the Clouds” in the 3rd Bunten show. “Snow of a Thousand Years” won second prize and it was purchased by the Ministry of Education. He continued to exhibit paintings throughout his career. During his travels, however, he learned of the West’s admiration for Japanese prints and in 1920 he made his first print, “The Secluded Garden of the Meiji Shrine”, with Shozaburo Watanabe. This was one of a total of seven prints made with Watanabe before the 1923 earthquake, the blocks of all were destroyed during the quake. Hiroshi and Fujio traveled in the United States and Europe 1923-1925 painting and selling their paintings in various places.
Enthusiasm for his prints during this sojourn abroad persuaded him to establish his own workshop of printing upon his return to Japan in 1925. He specialized
in landscapes from his travels abroad and in Japan. Yoshida learned the skills of carving and printing and often carved his own blocks and he personally supervised every stage of his prints. He died in 1950. After his death, the family printed many of his prints again without the pencil signature. His signature was carved into the blocks and each time a print was printed, his signature was printed also. For the untrained eye, it is difficult to differentiate between the signature in the composition (printed after his death) and the pencil signature. However, only the works with pencil signatures have strong value.