Magpie and Bee (かささぎと虫)

Designer: Jules Chadel | Carver: David Bull | Printer: Natsuki Suga

Paper size: 15cm by 11cm | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [HC] ? ( Change currency: $ / £ / )

Price: $ 40.00£ 32.25€ 36.75 [Reprinting]

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Description: Dating from about 1910, this image is the work of Jules Chadel, a member of Les Amis de l’Art Japonais, a group of French artists active around the end of the 19th century, a time when Japanese art was having an enormous influence on European design.

That influence is well-known and documented, but for the most part, the influence was on the content of the art produced. There were though, a few artists influenced also by the Japanese production techniques, and Chadel was one of these. He not only designed the original version of this print, he also carved and printed it by himself. I have no idea how he learned the methods of doing this; it is thought that he had some contact with the Japanese printer Yoshijiro Urushibara, who was living in Europe in those years, or perhaps he was a private experimenter, studying and learning from the Japanese prints that were flooding Europe just then.

The experiments in Japanese printmaking by European artists at that time didn’t result in any major art ‘movement’; the Japanese techniques are quite labour intensive, and most of them ended up returning to standard western oil-based methods. But now, at the beginning of the 21st century, it’s happening again, and many westerners are giving this technique a try. Perhaps this time it will take root!

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