YAMADA BASKE (1869-1934)
"Boats at Night"
14 1/2" x 19 1/4", Watercolor on Paper 20029
Yamada Baske (1869-1934)
The painter now best known as Yamada Baske was born "Fukawa Jin Basuke" in Tokyo in 1869 and first studied art at the Furoko School, Tokyo. After coming to America in 1885 he continued his studies at the Art Students' League in New York; at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; and from 1897 to 1899 at the Philadelphia School of Industrial Art (the March 1907 Philadelphia Museum bulletin described him as having been a “brilliant student“). Among his teachers were William Merritt Chase; Herman F. Deigendesch (1858-1921); Farber; and Mr. Stratton. Later he organized the "Basuke Sketching Class" of Yokohama, and also taught for a time at the Tokyo Fine Art School (now known as Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku) where his exhibited work won prizes and honorable mentions. Basuke exhibited at the Beard Art Galleries in Minneapolis, Minnesota, attracting the attention of the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts, for whom he began teaching watercolor classes in 1907. His hallmark misty landscapes became (and remain) his most popular subjects. Baske died in 1934.
In 2000 a major exhibition of his work was held at the Morikami Museum, Delray Beach, Florida. He is listed in Who Was Who in American Art, and first appeared in Who‘s Who in American Art in 1915.
Notes on variations to Baske’s name: It was during Basuke’s turn-of-the-century period of increased exposure and popularity that he began spelling his name phonetically “Baske“, as he tired of explaining its pronunciation. The January 1907 Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts Bulletin spelled his name as both Baske and Basuke. All modern references to “Yamada Baske” provide the biographical data that is correct for Fukawa Jin Basuke, e.g. his Minneapolis MN Exhibits and Teaching. Basuke eventually signed his misty watercolors both as “F. Baske,” “F. Basuke,” “Y. Baske” and “Yamada Baske.” Matters were further confused when the popular press spelled his family name both ways and misspelled his middle name as “Jine“ rather than Jin. Confusion reigns to this day: The 2008 Edition of Davenport’s Art Reference and Price Guide lists him as “Fukawa Baske,” a European, and as also gives a listing for “Yamanda Baske.” Searches under both names show the same subject matter and style, and the same handwriting. Interestingly, in 2009-2010, auctions results under both names have reached parity (his watercolors as F. Basuke and Yamanda Baske bring similar prices at the time of this writing).