Cherry Tree Art at Library of Congress

With the 100th anniversary of Washington’s first cherry trees only six weeks away, on March 27, special exhibits and programs on sakura (cherry blossoms) are cropping up all over town.

In late March, the Library of Congress will open an exhibition of 54 prints and art works from its collections depicting different scenes of cherry trees.

The selections include watercolor drawings, Japanese woodblock prints, book illustrations, photographs, posters, postcards and editorial cartoons. I’ve posted a few gorgeous samples.


Helen Hyde woodcut cherry blossoms

Mothers and children in Tokyo, Helen Hyde, woodcut, 1914 (Source: Library of Congress)


I find the woodblock prints especially beautiful. The artistic technique — with soft, rich coloring and stylized figures and landscapes — seems well suited to the delicacy and ephemeral nature of the blossoms, which in Japanese culture symbolize the transience of human life.

The exhibit runs from March 20 to September 15, in the Graphic Arts Galleries on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building on Capitol Hill.


Hiroshige Tama River

Cherry trees along Tama River, Ando Hiroshige, woodcut, 1856 (Source: Library of Congress)



Cherry blossom drawing, c1870

Cherry blossom drawing, artist unknown, c1870 (Source: Library of Congress)



3 Women by Hosada

Three women, Eishi Hosada, woodcut, c1790 (Source: Library of Congress)



Cherry Trees Lum

Children at play, Bertha Boynton Lum, woodblock, 1913 (Source: Library of Congress)



Girl w. doll woodcut

Girl with doll, artist unknown, woodcut, 1850-1900 (Source: Library of Congress)

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