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Kameido ume yashiki (Plum estate, Kameido)

Kameido ume yashiki (Plum estate, Kameido)
Woodblock print, from the series Meisho Edo hyakkei (One hundred views of Edo), signed Hiroshige ga, date sealed Snake 11 (1857, 11th month), published by Uoya Eikichi
Vertical oban: 14 1/8 x 9 ½ in. (35.9 x 24.1 cm.)

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Lot Essay

Umeyashiki is the name of a plum garden on the bank of the Sumida River that 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 color 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. Another impression of this particular print was acquired by van Gogh and inspired him to such an extent that, along with A Sudden Shower 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.

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