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TO OCT. 17
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In 1930, traveling mostly by boat and train, Japanese printmaker Yoshida Hiroshi made an artistic pilgrimage to India. His principal destination was the Taj Mahal, which he depicted in six of the 32 woodblock prints he made after returning to Japan, but he also represented scenes from Singapore, Rangoon, and Lahore, as well as Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, and other locations throughout the Indian subcontinent. (Golden Temple at Amritsar is pictured.) Yoshida’s renderings owe little to traditional Japanese art, suggesting instead a blend of art nouveau and Western magazine illustrations. His overriding concern was a quality of light that he found very different in India from at home, and he frequently portrayed the same subject from the same angle at different times of day to capture the shifts in illumination. Rather than employ the vivid colors of Japan’s famed and influential 19th-century printmakers, Yoshida used his own technique for creating prints with the soft, thin hues of watercolors. Remarkably, he managed to produce this appearance despite repeated overprintings. One of these pieces—a street scene of a crowd watching a snake charmer—uses 81 color impressions. Yet it, like the other 31 woodblocks, catches the limpid light that was clearly Yoshida’s greatest discovery in a country that, despite essential cultural links, was very unlike his own. On view daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Sackler Gallery, 1050 Independence Ave. SW. Free. (202) 357-4880. (Mark Jenkins)