1959 Munakata Shiko Woodblock Print

Value (2004) | $6,000 Retail$7,000 Retail

I brought this print, done by Munakata Shiko. He's from Japan. But at the time, he was in New York and visited my husband's home, because he had an open home. My husband was the professor at the University of New York, in Asian Studies department. And he felt very grateful that my husband invited him, so he did this as a demonstration for everybody who participated in the party.

Wonderful-- so that was actually done in your husband's home, is that correct? Did he carve the block there as a demonstration?

Yes, Mr. Munakata wanted to show everybody how it's done; how he did the work.

Well, that was fabulous. That must have been very exciting, because as you know, he worked in a very rough and aggressive manner, and often used the ends of boxes, very rough wood, like orange crates, and then he would use chisels, and as you know, he would just work frantically and often would carve a block within a matter of a few minutes. That's what I heard. How many people attended the open house?

Well, unfortunately, this was before my time. I was still in Japan, so I never witnessed it, but he invited all the professors at the time at the state university.

Wonderful. And I notice here that not only is it signed by Munakata, but it's also dated, 1959, and July 27. And the interesting thing that obviously I don't have the answer to would be whether or not he did some more of these. We know that this is the very first example that he did from the blocks that were carved at your husband's home, but it would be very interesting to know if he took that block and then made other examples, or if this might be the only example of this particular subject.

Yeah, I'd like to know that, too.

Very strong impression. It does, as you notice, have a little bit of foxing. It has gotten a little bit of foxing marks here, which can be restored, and I think it would be a piece that would be more valuable and would be worth getting restored. Do you have any idea of what this might be valued at?

Oh, I have no idea, but it's just... Munakata Shiko is so famous in Japan that I was delighted to find it.

Well, I don't blame you for being excited. It's a wonderful piece. I would say in a retail market that a piece like this would be in the range of $6,000 to $7,000.

Wow! It's hard to believe.

No, Munakata's very famous, as you say, and a very, very collectible artist, and it's a wonderful piece and a great story, and we really appreciate you sharing it with us today.

Oh, you're welcome.

If it is the only one he did, then it's even more valuable.

I see.

Appraisal Details

Castle Fine Arts, Inc.
Del Mar, CA
Appraised value (2004)
$6,000 Retail$7,000 Retail
Portland, OR (August 21, 2004)
20th Century

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