Artist: Hiroaki (Shotei) Takahashi (1871-1945)
Woodblock Print Title: Tama, the black cat
1st Publication: 1924
Size: Oban; 13 1/4" x 9 1/2" + Margins as shown (34 x 24 cm + margins)
Date of this edition: 1924 (*), 2nd State
Condition: Little remnants from prior mounting, else very fine.
Notes: This is an Intaglio print, not an actual woodblock print.
(*) Rare variant / 2nd state of the print. Shotei created nearly 500 works, when the Kanto earthquake striked and destroyed all the blocks and inventory.
1923 was a rough year for Wanatabe Shozaburo. The Kanto earthquake destroyed his building and all his inventory / blocks in the fire. Although in 1924, his team of artists showed some support, in 1924, all his exclusive artists had to break up their deal with Wanatabe for financial reasons.
Kawase Hasui started working for the first time with another publisher (Isetatsu), Hiroshi Yoshida decided to self publish, Shiro Kasamatsu stopped printing until 1930ish, and long time friend Shotei too, had to use other publishers to pay his bills. It's not until 1930, that many of these artists, Shotei included, resumed doing a lot of business with Wanatabe.
Starting in 1924, Shotei used other publishers and printed / reprinted similar pre quake designs, sometimes wrongly labelled as fake or plagiarism; although they were simply originals or variants made by Shotei, and not published by Wanatabe Shozaburo, as this one was building his business back.
The paper of this intaglio print is similar to the ones made by Charles W Bartlett that was also printing with Wanatabe prior to the Kanto earthquake.
Pictures: Pictures are taken outdoor, in the shade, to reflect true colors, without any enhancements of any kind. The last picture is taken indoor, with a light behind the print, to reveal the exact paper grain, holes if any, or other possible flaws.