20th Century British Art
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Yoshijiro Urushibara (1888-1953)

Wood block printmaker born in Shiba, Tokyo, Japan. Two of his three elder brothers Eijiro and Sanjiro were also artists in the same discipline. Following an apprenticeship with a woodblock company in Japan, Urushibara travelled to England in 1910 with other Japanese woodcut artists to demonstrate their skills and techniques in the Anglo-Japanese Exhibition held in London that year. Following this exhibition, he stayed in London and was employed by the British Museum in the production and restoration of prints and the mounting of scrolls. He subsequently worked as a printmaker in England and France, sometimes in collaboration with Frank Brangwyn reproducing many of his designs. His subject matter included scenes of Venice, Menton, and flower prints either as conservative arrangements or against black backgrounds sometimes with butterflies.  

A woodcut by Urushibara after Brangwyn entitled 'The Beguinage, Bruges' is illustrated in the Studio Magazine of January 1920. In England, Urushibara exhibited at the Abbey Gallery, Beaux Arts Gallery, the International Society of Sculptors, Painters & Gravers, RA, Redfern Gallery, RSA, RHA, RGI and at the Walker Art Gallery. After the outbreak of World War II in 1939 it was feared that Japan might join the conflagration and Urushibara was advised to leave Britain. This he did in October 1940 arriving in Japan in January 1941. He was never to return to Europe and died of lung cancer in 1953. Prints by him can be seen in the collections of the Ashmolean, BM, Fitzwilliam Museum, Hunterian, Glasgow, V&A and in many collections around the world.

With thanks to artbiogs.co.uk

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