Matsue Birthplace, 1947
Gift of D. Lee Rich, P’78 ’80 and John Hubbard Rich, Jr., Class of 1939 Litt.D. 1974, P’78 ’80
Hiratsuka, who is better known for black-and-white prints, rendered his hometown Matsue in a warm array of colors. In this early work he used v-shaped knives to carve smooth, fine lines that precisely delineate the landscape. In this print, sunrays and dappled green leaves on an avenue make palpable Hiratsuka’s appreciation of his birthplace, its regional history, and the greater natural world. It is perhaps not entirely free of nostalgia. Matsue, a quiet town on the country’s northwestern coast, was once a lively center of trade with Korea and China. The nearby town of Izumo hosts one of Japan’s oldest and most admired Shinto shrines, built from unpainted wood. Hiratsuka’s affinity for wood started at a young age: his grandfather was an architect and his father a lumber dealer. Through his work, Hiratsuka honors the Shinto principle of spirituality in nature, which is evident in the earthy appeal of Matsue Birthplace.