Tôshi Yoshida (吉田遠志 1911-1995) was the eldest son of Yoshida Hiroshi with whom he studied beginning at the age of fourteen. From 1932 to 1935 Tôshi also studied at the Taiheiyo-Gakai (Pacific Painting Association) which had been co-founded by his father. Before the Pacific War, Tôshi traveled widely with his father in Asia, Europe, Egypt, and the United States. In subsequent years, he continued to travel on his own, especially in Mexico, the United States, Canada, and Africa. He remained in his father's studio until Hiroshi's death in 1950 and ran the studio thereafter.
Yoshida Tôshi, working in the shadow of his rather demanding father, adopted Hiroshi's naturalistic drawing and compositional style up until the elder Yoshida's death in 1950. However, he tended to avoid the complex and painterly effects that were for his father essential elements of print design. By contrast, Tôshi's approach differed in surface appearance, as he frequently printed with brighter colors applied in a more uniform manner. Even so, some of his designs, just like his father's, required many carved blocks and numerous printing stages. He sometimes selected subjects that his father did not embrace, such as views of the sea and wildlife. Soon after his Hiroshi's death, Tôshi's "rebellion" truly emerged as he began making abstract prints in the sôsaku hanga manner without the collaboration of his workshop. Nevertheless, from the early 1960s, he returned to representational art, often on a large scale, doing some of his best work on scenes of wildlife in natural habitats, most notably in Africa.
In 1966, Tôshi and the artist Yuki Rei (1928-2003) published Japanese Print Making: A Handbook of Traditional and Modern Techniques, which was widely influential in the printmaking world.
Note about editions: Lifetime signatures are pencil signed, whereas posthumous signatures are stamped. However, very late in his career, when illness and weakness in his writing hand prevented Tôshi from signing, he supervised the studio printing and, on impressions he approved, used a printed signature accompanied by an embossed seal. The same applies for both numbered and unlimited editions.
"Peggy's Cove, Canada" is a life-time, pencil-signed impression. The artiist's jikoku (self-carved: 自刻) seal in the upper left margin indicates that Tôshi carved the blocks for this design. The view commemorates Yoshida's visit to this rural, scenic spot on the coast of Nova Scotia. Yoshida used a long horizontal format mostly for certain subjects among his views of Africa and Canada. The pictorial space was especially effective in enhancing the visual impact of animals racing over a distance in his wildlife designs. In this example, however, the wide expanse offers a near panoramic view of the cove.
Yoshida Tôshi's prints and paintings are in many collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago; British Museum, London; Cincinnati Art Museum; Krakow National Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; MOA Museum, Atami, Japan; New York Museum of Modern Art; National Museum of Australia, Canberra; Paris National Library; Portland Art Museum; Seattle Museum of Art; Sydney Museum, Australia; and Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art.
- Allen, Laura, et al.: A Japanese Legacy: Four Generations of Yoshida Family Artists. Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2002.
- Skibbe, Eugene: Yoshida Toshi: Nature, Art, and Peace. Edina, MN: Seascape Publications, 1996.
- Yoshida, Toshi & Rei Yuki. Japanese Printmaking, A Handbook of Traditional & Modern Techniques. Rutland, VT & Tokyo: Tuttle, 1966.
There are many books and websites that include information about Yoshida Tôshi, as well as modern Japanese prints. Readers are encouraged to explore these sources of information.