Friday, August 28, 2015

Elizabeth Keith: The Uncatalogued Prints

Richard Miles' catalog, "Elizabeth Keith: The Printed Works," Pacific Asia Museum (1991), was produced in conjunction with a similarly-titled exhibition held at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, California that ran from October 1991 through February 1992.  At the time, it was a seminal catalog, illustrating 108 of Keith's woodblock prints and etchings.  Since Keith's death in 1956, only the University of Oregon Museum of Art had issued a catalog of similar scope in connection with a 1974 Keith exhibition, and it was sparsely illustrated and limited to works in that museum's collection.


Miles' catalog, however, was prepared when the World Wide Web was in its infancy and before museums and art dealers started to make digital images of Keith's prints readily available.  Despite what I'm sure were Miles' best efforts (I understand that it was put together hastily to meet the Pacific Asia Museum's exhibition opening date), the catalog is riddled with errors.  Woodblock prints are labeled as etchings or vice-versa, dimensions are reversed, erroneous titles or dates are ascribed to certain print designs, etc.  Miles' source of information about the number of sheets printed is unclear and in many cases questionable in light of copies which have since come to light.  Although print variants of many Keith designs exist, none are illustrated and only one is specifically mentioned by Miles.  Most unfortunate of all is the fact that the catalog omits over 20 of Keith's prints.  The correction of all such errors and omissions is beyond the scope of this post, but I thought it would nonetheless be useful for collectors to list in one place all of the omitted Keith print designs.

Elizabeth Keith (left) with Kate (Mrs. Charles W.) Bartlett (c. 1915)
by Tokyo photographer Y. Shimiozu
Personal Collection (ex. David Dolan/Bartlett Family Collection)

Miles organized his catalog according to the country depicted in Keith's prints and then by date, so I'll try follow the same approach.  Titles are largely descriptively attributed, although a few are titled on the front or on the back of the print in Keith's handwriting.  Unfortunately, the publication dates for most designs are approximate at best if not dated by Keith herself or listed in Watanabe Shozaburô's notebook.  Some can be inferentially inferred from the dates of related prints and others reflect dates that have been assigned to the prints by dealers or museums (and should be taken with a grain of salt).  The dimensions given are HxW, but most have not been personally verified.  Unless otherwise stated, the work illustrated is a woodblock print.

40A - Bell Tower, Soochow, China [1935]
34.3x 21.9 cm (13-1/2 x 8-5/8 in)
Personal Collection

Note: This print appears to be a companion print for Miles #37, Twin Pavilions, Soochow, China.

71A - East Gate. Seoul (Moonlight) (1920)
29.9 x 42.5 cm (11-3/4 x 16-3/4 in)

71B - White Buddha, Korea [1925]
39.9 x 28.4 cm (14-7/8 x 9-3/4 in)
(Personal Collection)

71C - Flying Kites (c. 1930)
14.5 x 10.0 cm (5-11/16 x 3-7/8 in)
Courtesy of Artelino.com 

Note: This design was also used on Korean Christmas Seals for 1936-1937.

 71D1 - Spinning Tops (c. 1930s)
Courtesy of thebestheartsarecrunchy.blogspot.com

Note: This design was also used on Korean Christmas Seals for 1937-1938.

71D3 - Spinning Tops (c. 1930s) by Kim Ki-Chang
14.5 x 10.0 cm (5-11/16 x 3-7/8 in)
Courtesy of Artelino.com

 71E - Korean Mother and Child (1934)
45 x 38 cm (17-3/4 x 15 in)
(lithographic poster)

Note: This design was also used on Korean Christmas Seals for 1934-1935.

71F - The Country Scholar (c. 1938)
38.1 x 29.5 cm (15 x 11-5/8 in)
(etching)

71G - Tong See, The Buddhist Priestess (unknown date and size)
(etching)

 Note:  The preparatory drawing for this etching is illustrated in Old Korea.

71H - East Gate. Seoul (unknown date)
17.6 x 24.9 cm (6-15/16 x 9-13/16 in)

92A - Philippine Lady (1924)
37.7 x 25.6 cm (14-7/8 x 10-1/16 in)
Courtesy of Hanga Gallery

92B - Moro Market Day, Baguio (1924)
25.4 x 37.8 cm (10 x 14-7/8 in)

92C - Santa Cruz Church, Manila (c. 1924-1925)
40.2 x 27.9 cm (15-13/16 x 11 in)
Courtesy of the Annex Galleries

Note: A color variant is known to exist.

92D - The Cock Fight, Manila (c. 1924-1925)
44.0 x 31.3 cm (17-5/16 x 12-3/8 in)
Courtesy of the Annex Galleries

Note: A color variant is known to exist.

 
92E - Street Scene, Singapore (1925)
32.7 x 28.7 cm (12-7/8 x 11-5/16 in)

92F - Philippine Woman (c. 1930)
14.9 x 11.4 cm (5-7/8 x 4-1/2 in)
Courtesy of The Art of Japan

Note: The red circular seal in this copy is said to denominate a print self-carved and printed by Keith.

108A - Fishing Village (c. 1924)
25 x 32 cm (9-7/8 x 12-9/16 in)
Courtesy of Saru Gallery
(etching)

108B - Fruit Shop at Night, Kyoto (pre-1930)
38.0 x 25.5 cm (14-15/16 x 10-1/16 in)

Note: A color variant is known to exist.

108C - Amherst in Doshisha (c. 1932)
11.8 x 11.6 cm (4-5/8 x 4-9/16 in)
Courtesy of Hanga Gallery

108D - Shigeyama in Green Dress (1936)
44.1 x 32.4 cm (17-3/8 x 12-3/4 in)

108E - Man with Paint Bucket (unknown date and size)
Courtesy of Hanga Gallery

Note: The red circular seal in this copy is said to denominate a print self-carved and printed by Keith.  The preparatory drawing for this print is shown at page 76 of the Miles catalog.

108F - Doshisha Girl (unknown date)
22.2 x 10.8 cm (8-3/4 x 4-1/4 in)
Courtesy of The Art of Japan

Note: A color variant is known to exist.

Elizabeth Keith (left) with Kate Bartlett and Charles W. Bartlett in Hawaii (c. 1930s)
Personal Collection (ex. David Dolan/Bartlett Family Collection)

If you are aware of additional Keith woodblock prints or etchings not found in the Miles catalog, please let me know.

9/18/16 Postscript:  Since this post went on-line, I have made the acquaintance of Professor Young-dahl Song and his wife Kim.  Professor Song published a Korean text version of Keith's book Eastern Windows in Korea in 2012.  This book is notable for a catalog at the end which lists all of Keith paintings and prints (with English captions) known as to Professor Song as of the publication date, almost all of which are accompanied by small color images.  It includes everything in the Miles catalog as well as many of the prints listed above, but arranged chronologically, rather than by geographic subject matter.  It is something that serious Keith collectors should seek for their reference libraries.


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