|Japanese Prints||Sign In | Register | Contact us | New User?|
Joshua Rome is an American who lived with his family for 25 years in a small hamlet in the hills near Kyoto/Japan chronicling the life of his rural neighbors. He was born in Hartford, CT, USA. His teachers were Clifton Karhu and Kuroda Kenkichi.
The images on this page are link-sensitive and take you to other articles or web sites in which you might be interested.
We published this article on the occasion of our first presentation of woodblock prints by Mr. Joshua Rome in a solo auction in March 2006. The solo auction feature(s/d) 25 of the artist's prints including several of his major art works shown at the prestigious CWAJ print shows.
In 1998 Joshua Rome and his family returned to the U.S.A. and now live in Vermont. Joshua Rome is an internationally established and renowned artist whose works are in major museums and who is represented by top galleries like Yoseido, Verne Collection, Ren Brown Collection, Ronin Gallery and Azuma Gallery. In October 2005 Joshua Rome exhibited at the prestigious CWAJ Show in Toyko for the 21st year.
The following text is from the artist's official resum�.
"Born in 1953 the adopted son of Broadway composer-lyricist Harold Rome, Joshua Rome was exposed to the arts from an early age.
At the age of twenty-one, Rome made his way to Japan with the hopes of studying Japanese cabinetry. However he met the woodblock artist Clifton Karhu, who befriended Rome and took him on as an apprentice. At first Rome was more interested in carving of the blocks but during three years of apprenticeship he gained an appreciation for color and paper.
When his apprenticeship ended Rome continued his studies for another three years at the home of Kuroda Kenkichi the son of Kuroda Tatsuaki, national treasure of lacquer and cabinetry. But it was woodblock printing that had grasped his imagination and so for twenty years Joshua Rome lived in the rural mountains of Japan about an hour from Kyoto, creating landscapes of a society in transition.
Rome is well established with more than seventy-five successful solo shows at premier galleries throughout Japan as well as being an annual contributor to the College Women's Association of Japan show, the best cross-section of all print mediums in the Japanese print world. Rome has also had numerous solo shows in New York, Cleveland and San Francisco. Joshua and his family returned from Japan in 1998 and now live in Vermant, USA."
Joshua Rome in 2006
Because Joshua Rome had started his woodblock printmaking career as an apprentice to Clifton Karhu, you might expect that at least his early works were done in the style of his first teacher. You may even have read something like that somewhere. Forget about it. The artwork created by Joshua Rome is different and very genuine. If his works can be compared to anything created before in art history, a comparison with the French impressionists comes closest to truth. And indeed, the two greatest role models for the artist are the French painter Claude Monet and the Japanese woodblock master Hiroshi Yoshida.
Our solo auction with Joshua Rome presents woodblock prints that cover a period from 1985 until 2006. It is remarkable that his style has developed, but has not undergone any major changes over the years. And it is astonishing that he displayed such a mature, elaborate style from the very beginning. But the most astonishing fact that we see is the question how Joshua Rome achieves his mesmerizing, impressionistic style through the medium of the woodblock print?
We are no printmakers and we have only a partial answer. Mr. Rome carves himself and prints himself. There is not one step in the process of printmaking that he would entrust to anybody else - except for sales (thanks Josh!).
On the homepage of the artist you can read an article, written by Donald Richie from 'THE JAPAN TIMES' in May14. 1996. He describes some of the techniques and the artistic philosophy of Joshua Rome in more detail and in more refined words than we can do. We are simply puzzled and fascinated by the unique results - woodblock prints of simple, but mind-boggling beauty.
Another aspect of Joshua Rome's woodblock prints that attracted our attention is the fact that some of his prints - even some of the early ones like Sansaitori from 1988 look like a development of the artist in direction of an abstract or semi-abstract style. This was indeed a kind of natural and logical development for many artists like Wassily Kandinsky or even Franz Marc shortly before his death in world war I. We do not know if Joshua Rome has ever been tempted to dabble in abstract art as Toshi Yoshida had dared to do after his father's death. But we are unsure if it would have worked well for Joshua Rome. His roots are in the depiction of landscapes, nature and the humans who live in harmony with it and the disappearing world of old Japan that he had found in a remote hamlet of the Japanese countryside.
Joshua Rome has returned to the land where he was born, the United States, and now lives in Vermont. We are wondering what kind of influence it will have on his woodblock printmaking style. A more recent work by the artist shows a saxophone player, After the Rain - a scene taken from Central Park in New York. Another recent print is titled Spirit Levels and shows grass against the sky. Both are wonderful prints with distinctive grain patterns - one of the strong points of the artist. We are sure there are still many more wonderful woodblocks to come from the hands of this great artist!
Here are two selected works from artelino's solo auction with Joshua Rome. They are among our personal favorites and we want to share them with you.
Since the times of Hokusai who immortalized the sleeping volcano and made it the landmark of Japan, many artists have been fascinated by this majestic view. The simple woodblock interpretation by Joshua Rome exerts a fascination that is hard to explain. After having enjoyed this design for several weeks, we still feel kind of addicted. If we were asked to name the best woodblock prints depicting Mount Fuji in the last hundred years, we would without any doubt list this print in the top ten. But don't ask us why. We cannot explain it with reasons.
The Northern and Eastern parts of Japan are known for snowy and severe winter conditions. Joshua Rome is especially good with snow scenes. This recent design from 2005 is among his best works. The lone person of whom only the backside and a huge umbrella are shown reminds us of some of Hasui Kawase's winter scenes. Although the styles are very different, both artists show great skill in creating moods with simple designs of a lonely human being exposed to the forces of nature.
The printworks by Joshua Rome are represented by some of the finest galleries for contemporary Japanese prints.
Author: Dieter Wanczura
(March 2006, updated July 2009)
Michael Verne and Betsey Franco wrote a book, published by Tuttle Books
Japan through the eyes of nine American Artists
The book is out of print, but available through Verne Gallery.
The images on this web site are the property of the artist(s) and or the artelino GmbH and/or a third company or institution. Reproduction, public display and any commercial use of these images, in whole or in part, require the expressed written consent of the artist(s) and/or the artelino GmbH.