Your clues this week are:
- You know this artist's name, but it is not Hiroshige (歌川 広重), Kuniyoshi (歌川 国芳), or Hokusai (葛飾 北斎).
- This is in the ukiyo-e style, and was created during the Meiji era (1868-1912), but it is not a woodblock print.
- The trees are native to Eastern Asia, members of the rose family, and produce a stone fruit that can be juiced, jellied, fermented, or pickled in salt ... much like sauerkraut ... and then dried. In Japan the trees are planted in the northeast corner of the garden to protect against evil. (Apparently evil pounces from the northeast, but don't quote me on that.)
- Ukiyo-e, which is still wildly popular, has a "chicken or egg" type of back story. Japanese artists developed ukiyo-e based on European illustrations that started circulating in Japan in the early 17th-century, courtesy of the Dutch East India Company. At roughly the same time, Japan entered into a 200+ year period of isolation often called the sakoku ("locking the country"), during which European trade was restricted (1) to the Dutch and (2) only on the tiny, man-made island of Dejima, near Nagasaki. Technically, the Dutch did not set foot on Japanese soil during the sakoku.
Still with me? So, after 200+ years, ukiyo-e had developed into this amazing style, unseen by anyone except the Japanese. Japan was then forced to open up trade in the 1850s via "gunboat diplomacy" (a tactful way to describe "threats of murder and mayhem"), and soon ukiyo-e prints were circulating in the Western world. The Europeans, well ... they were practically intoxicated by these prints, this New Big Thing, and pretty soon every artist and his or her brother was having a fling with Japonisme. And none of them realized that ukiyo-e had come from European art to begin with because Fate, she is twisty.
Last Week's Answer:
Last week's clues didn't confuse the winner one bit. Yes, László, you were right: the artist was John Frederick Kensett (1816‐1872) and the painting was his White Mountain Scenery,1859. By the way, the store is Tommy Hilfiger Fifth Avenue, located at 681 Fifth Avenue, and its building used to look like this. Congratulations to László, and thanks to everyone who participated!