Framing a Toshi Yoshida Abstract Print

This frame design came to me one day a year or two ago while noodling in my sketchbook, and I made a corner sample of it.Mabaroshi print, framed Shortly after, it came in handy for this 19th century oban size print, “Illusion”, at right, by Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865). I liked the way it repeated the lines in the kimonos. It’s a plain 5/8″ wide square profile in walnut stained black, but with shaped corners. A red painted slip accented the shape, and further harmonized the print and frame.

That same corner sample recently proved useful for a much later and very different Japanese print, shown below. Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950) and his son Toshi Yoshida (1911-1995) are among the great 20th century Japanese woodblock artists. Toshi generally followed in his father’s footsteps, favoring naturalistic images of landscapes and animals (like this great example). But a couple of years after Hiroshi’s death in 1950, Toshi experimented with abstraction, distilling his imagery down to basic elements like—as in this case—line and form. He made this print, “Dragon A,” in 1955. We gave the 11″ x 19-1/2″ image an ample 3″ mat (3-1/2″ bottom), and finished the setting with the flaired corner design, 1″ wide, also walnut stained black, but this time left on its own, without the slip, and so more suitably bold.

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