Yoshida Biography

Yoshida Hiroshi (1876-1950) was 44 years old, with a very successful career as a painter already behind him, when he met Watanabe Shozaburo who persuaded Yoshida make his first woodcut. He subsequently became one of the most prolific and, at least in America, the best known of the shin hanga artists.  As a young man, he had been one of the founders of the Taihei yoga-kai, the "Pacific Painting Society" formed in opposition to the dominant Hakuba-kai, or "White Horse Society" in 1902, and had won third prize in the first Bunten in 1907. He enjoyed traveling and had been to Europe and Africa, and twice to America, before he was thirty. Ed Robeson reports that Yoshida, having seen India prints by Bartlett, decided to make a trip to India to paint foriegn scenes. He also loved hiking and mountain climbing. All of these interests are reflected in his paintings, prints, and books (he was also something of an author).  
Unlike most of the other shin hanga artists, whose roots were in traditional Japanese painting, Yoshida was essentially a Western-style painter heavily influenced, as most of his generation was, by the French Impressionists. In his strong sense of design and mastery of effective placement, however, he seems very Japanese. His debt to Hiroshige, in particular is evident in his feeling for the particularities of place and his shrewd eye for arresting vantage points. Yoshida's association with Watanabe lasted only for two or three years, after which he decided to become his own publisher.