By Martha Nodar
Sandy Springs art collectors Terry and Julia Taylor discovered Hiroshi Yoshida’s woodblock prints in the late 1960s, during their first visit to Japan.
While there, they met Yoshida’s cousin. They kept in touch with him after returning to the U.S.
“He would send us the pieces over time,” Julia Taylor said. “My husband and I are not art experts. We just like these paintings and have been collecting them ever since. They are very traditional. They look like watercolor.”
This summer, the Taylors are sharing their collection through an exhibition at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art. “Jiki to Hanga: Japanese Porcelain and Prints,” showing through Aug. 25, includes prints, mostly from Yoshida, a 20th century Japanese artist, whose works are part of the Taylors’ private collection.
“It was my husband’s idea to lend these compositions to the university’s museum,” Taylor said. “We have so many pieces and we don’t have enough room at home.”
Taylor said Yoshida’s works remind her of paintings by the Impressionists, members of an artistic movement emerging during the second half of the 19th century. Impressionists were influenced by Japanese prints.
Yoshida, who mastered a water-based woodcut printing technique allowing a range of colors, is known for landscapes and showing people in everyday life. His goal was to appeal to the Western audience, while remaining faithful to the Japanese culture.
Sandy Springs resident Jose Soriano said he did some woodcut printing of his own as a hobby in his younger days, and appreciates the work involved in the process. He also was impressed by the museum’s display, which used muted lighting and flowers resembling those found in Japanese gardens.
The ambiance was further enhanced by a younger generation of art enthusiasts who graced the galleries at the exhibit’s recent opening. Students from first through fifth grade from the Seigakuin Atlanta International School sang for museum patrons both in English and in Japanese.
“These prints are really fantastic and the museum is beautifully decorated—very minimalistic, very Japanese,” Soriano said.