<b>CATCHING WHITEBAIT AT NAKAUMI </b><i> / Kazuma Oda<br>1924<br><br><B>RESERVED

<b>CATCHING WHITEBAIT AT NAKAUMI </b><i> / Kazuma Oda<br>1924<br><br><B>RESERVED


ARTIST: Kazuma Oda (1882-1956)

TITLE: Catching Whitebait at Nakaumi

MEDIUM: Woodblock

DATE: 1924

DIMENSIONS: 9 5/8 X 14 1/4 inches

CONDITION: No condition problems to note

$ 3,500.00 <RESERVED>

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Kazuma Oda is one of a few artists that straddled two distinct artistic movements as well as mediums. Known as Japan's most celebrated 20th-century lithographer in the Sosaku Hanga tradition, Oda also produced some stunning woodblock prints that have become icons of Shin Hanga. ”Catching Whitebait at Nakaumi” is considered his Shin Hanga masterpiece. The design depicts a fisherman slowly positioning his boat toward the most opportune site in order to obtain bait that will, in turn, ensure a good catch. Oda brings the viewer's eyes toward the area of the fisherman’s attention by moving the reflections of the lanterns and light towards the water. Though there is a starlit night and waning moon to admire, the viewer is transfixed, much like the fisherman, toward the water. The expressive reflections of light point the way.

Connoisseur's Note

This print is a color variant that was used by Watanabe, the publisher, as a trial in determining the final color scheme and, as such, the impression is unique. The regular version can be seen in our Archive. In this version, the deep and all-encompassing blue is replaced by subtle variations of light blue, purple, and lavender. The subtle bokashi, or color gradation, throughout the design animates the composition and eloquently suggests the light of the breaking dawn. It’s fascinating to compare this impression to the regular version of the design, as so much of the bokashi present in the sky, mountains, and water is lessened or omitted. 

 This design is loosely based on Vincent van Gogh’s ”Starry Night over the Rhône,” 1888. Note the angle or slight curvature of the light's placement within the composition as well as the pronounced reflections in the water. As E. E. Cummings once wrote: "steal from the best." Oda certainly takes what he finds most compelling from Van Gogh's painting and quite successfully incorporates it into a design that becomes his own.