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Cool Breeze (Sofu)

Cool Breeze (Sofu)

Yoshida Chizuko

An item at Art Institute of Chicago

Here, foshida Chizuko has combined woodblock printing with photoetching—an engraving technique —to show a lavender field moving in a cool breeze and the slow breakup of ice on a sea in Hokkaido. She was known for walking so close to the ice that she would worry her fellow travelers. Chizuko was interested in finding patterns in nature, and close observation enabled her to infuse her work with a sense of movement.

A Sign of Things to Come: Prints by Japanese Women Artists after 1950

An exhibit at Art Institute of Chicago

Cool Breeze (Sofu)Cool Breeze (Sofu)Cool Breeze (Sofu)Cool Breeze (Sofu)Cool Breeze (Sofu)

Before 1950, women rarely played a part in the production of Japanese prints, which were largely commercial products. After World War II, however, some were drawn to the sosaku hanga (creative print) movement, which promoted printmaking as a form of artistic expression. In 1956 a small group of women printmakers created Jory Hanga Kyokai, an association that exhibited together for about ten years. Its members included Iwami Reika and Yoshida Chizuko, both of whom are well-known today and whose works appear in this exhibition. But despite some individual successes, female printmakers still make up a relatively small fraction of the artists active in Japan. Remarkably, the Yoshida family alone boasts three of the women represented in this display. Yoshida Fujio began to explore sensual abstracted floral themes in prints in 1950, at the age of 62. Her daughter-in-law, Yoshida Chizuko, trained as an abstract painter, but she expanded her practice in 1953 after her marriage. Yoshida Ayomi, the youngest of the three, creates the most conceptual works and views her prints primarily as records of her main focus: carving woodblocks. This exhibition features many works that the family gave to the Art Institute between 2011 and 2019.