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The Plum Garden, Kameido (Kameido Umeyashiki)

The Plum Garden, Kameido (Kameido Umeyashiki)
From the series One Hundred Views of Famous Places of Edo (Meisho Edo hyakkei)
Woodblock print, signed Hiroshige ga
Published by Uoya Eikichi
Sealed aratame
Date seal: Snake 11 (11/1857)
Vertical oban: 36 x 24.2 cm. (14.2/8 x 9.6/8 in.)

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Jessica Hsu
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Lot Essay

Umeyashiki is the name of a plum garden on the bank of the Sumida River which drew large numbers of visitors to enjoy the view and scent of the blossoming trees in early spring. Hiroshige's striking design places the trunk and branches of a plum tree boldly in the foreground. The shape of this particular tree led to it becoming known as Resting Dragon Plum (Garyubai), because its branches grew so long they re-entered the earth. The viewer is obliged to look through the branches of the tree and of those behind, to see a group of visitors to the garden admiring the blossoms from behind a fence. The unusual and dramatic vantage point and bold use of colour are characteristics that inspired 19th century artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and James McNeill Whistler and in many cases dramatically influenced their work. This particular print was acquired by van Gogh and inspired him to such an extent that, along with A Sudden Show over Ohashi and Atake by Hiroshige, he produced his own version in oil, Flowering Plum Orchard (after Hiroshige), 1887, now in the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Interestingly, to his painting van Gogh added a wide orange border containing inscriptions in Japanese including 'painted by the New Yoshiwara' - which bears no relation to the original print by Hiroshige and was added to the oil painting for exotic embellishment.

For the original print by Hiroshige which was owned by Vincent van Gogh, now in the Van Gogh Museum, go to:

For Flowering Plum Orchard (after Hiroshige), oil on canvas, by Vincent van Gogh, go to:

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