30 August 2007

Bertha Lum studied at the Art Institute of Chicago with Frank Holme who experimented with color woodblock techniques. She was exposed to the great collections of Morse, Buckingham and the Japanese influences of Frank Lloyd Wright. She married attorney, Burt F. Lum in Minneapolis in 1903, and they honeymooned in Japan. In 1907 she again traveled to Japan where she studied with master carver Iagmi Bonkotsu and printer Nishimura Kamakichi. She settled in Tokyo in 1911.

Lum preferred Japanese subjects, influenced by the prints of Hiroshige and the nostalgic and lyrical themes of Lafcadio Hearn. She remained in Japan until 1912, studying all aspects of woodblock printmaking. She returned to Minneapolis in 1912, where she continued to produce prints. In 1915 and 1919 she made extended trips to Japan, and in 1922 she made her first trip to Peking and, with the exception of the war years, spent most of her remaining years there. 1

a truly ambitious site on lum has been developed and it's now in four languages. the attempt is to catalogue and feature lum's complete works.

one of the most interesting things i learned today about lum is that it was her who did the little hiroshige-like spot drawings in bing's 'artistic japan,' as well as some illustrations for lafcadio hearn.

i have never loved lum's work. can i say why? i can make guesses but none are for sure. in general, as crazy as i am for the many western artist who incorporated japanese principles and techniques into their work, i am not fond of about half of those few who did so, and used japanese subjects as well.

still, her story is an inspirational, fascinating one, and i'm thrilled that more and more of her works are finally being made available.



Blogger harlequinpan said...

i like the propotion of her works,and her interception(capture ?) of framed.

31 August, 2007 10:49  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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