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Halloween 2009: Goblin Lanterns by Helen Hyde
October 30, 2009


Hyde

Goblin Lanterns by Helen Hyde

For the ghostly and ghoulish among you, I found Helen Hyde's Goblin Lanterns of 1906. The artist, born in New York in 1868, moved with her family to San Francisco two years later, where her father prospered in a business associated with the gold rush. Educated at Wellesley and the California School of Design, she found her inspiration in Japan and moved there in 1899. A woodblock printmaker, she considered Tokyo her home, and Japanese women and children were her frequent subjects. Later, she became disillusioned with the encroaching industrialization and westernization in her adopted homeland and returned to California in 1914.

Goblin Lanterns may not be the scariest print on the block, so to speak, but I like it for its drama, energy, and storytelling. The young child hurries on a dark path in the woods, carrying a rice-paper lantern, which lights this evening scene. The traditional footwear, or geta, do not look like they were made for a quick getaway. The dark goblins in the trees appear as if they have come out of a Japanese folk tale, with branches ready to entrap. You can see woodblock prints like these evolving into the genre of manga in the middle of the twentieth century and then further into anime. More than one hundred years ago, Hyde, an outsider, made traditional Japanese art her own.


Posted by Howard on October 30, 2009 in American Art Here


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