by KAMISAKA, Yukiyoshi
25 double-page stunning plates of colored woodcuts depicting butterflies. Two vols. in accordion-style (orihon). 8vo, orig. blue silk over boards (a little worn), orig. block-printed title label on upper cover. Kyoto: Yamada Unsodo, 1904. First edition of this beautifully illustrated work on butterflies; the handsome woodblock double-page plates, several of which are heightened in gold or silver, depict butterflies in a variety of styles. "Kamisaka Sekka was a genius; effortlessly, prodigiously, boundlessly imaginative; tirelessly inventive, spontaneous, and free. In One Thousand Butterflies (Cho senrui, 1903 [the book is commonly misdated; it was published in 1904]) he took a single subject and drew dozens of pictures, each in a different style. There was nothing academic about his approach. Each drawing was fresh and new; many were arresting and some mirrored new developments in European art... "Sekka loved design. He began to paint under Suzuki Zuigai when he was sixteen and studied textiles in his early twenties...He was doubly fortunate that Yamada Naosaburo, the most ambitious, original and enterprising publisher of the early twentieth century, recognized Sekka's genius and gave him the freedom and support he needed to bring into the world his protean vision of art fused with life."-Keyes, Ehon. The Artist and the Book in Japan (NYPL), p. 240. Fine set. ❧ Hillier, The Art of the Japanese Book, p. 976-"A colour-printed book of elaborate decor based on the forms of butterflies. All the designs are 'patterned,' but some conform to the actual shape and markings of believable butterflies, though there is certainly no intention to be entomologically accurate; but in some, the artist simply used the insects as a theme for variations, distorting and manipulating the butterfly shape until it is barely recognizable, often achieving the kind of art nouveau that we associate with some Secession jewellery...Sekka is especially inventive when he allows swarms of butterflies to float over the page, achieving colourful geometric diagrams, or, in one, amorphous silver shapes outlined in brown, green and yellow, as evocative and irrational as abstracts by Arp.".
(Inventory #: 5119)