While she lived and studied in Paris, Hyde most likely saw the 1893 exhibition of Mary Cassatt's color etchings which were inspired by the Japanese use of color, content, and perspective. By 1894, Hyde had returned to California and began to sketch likenesses of women and children in San Francisco's Chinatown. Through the Sketch Club, Hyde met, and became friends with another artist, Josephene Hyde (no relation) who was an etcher. Together they attempted color etchings, and in 1899, the two women settled in Japan to learn that country's painting techniques.
11 3/8 x 18 1/4 inches.
An April Evening
3 5/8 x 4 7/8 inches
Hyde studied for two years with the last of the Kano school artists, Kano Tomanobu, and learned the Japanese style of painting. She became skilled at the creation of woodblock prints and was invited to execute a kakemono, is a Japanese scroll painting mounted usually with silk fabric edges on a flexible backing, at an annual spring exhibition in Tokyo.
Going to the Fair
7 3/4 x 19 inches
Hyde belonged to the Tokyo Woman's Club, at the time, however, the club did not admit Japanese women to membership. Japanese women were slowly gaining public recognition and acceptance to the Tokyo Art Institute. Hyde makes no mention of Japanese women artists or friends in her letter to her family. Hyde created a charming, pre-industrial world in her prints and preferred the traditional Japanese dress to the increasing popularity of Western clothing the was worn by many.
New Year's Day in Tokyo
3/8 x 17 5/8 inches
The Furious Dragon
5 7/8 x 6 1/2 inches
Hyde's popularity has enjoyed a resurgence. Her prints are still sold at public galleries, and a vast collection of her works are included in the archives of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Hyde's works can be seen at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C as well. Two of her award-winning works are A Monarch of Japan and Baby Talk. In 1901, A Monarch of Japan took first place in the Nihon Kaiga Kyokai exhibition and the piece is now located at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In 1909, Baby Talk received a Gold Medal at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exhibition and it is now housed at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Conrad Graeber, Fine Art: Helen Hyde, http://www.conradgraeber.com/Hyde.html, retrieved 5/714.
Yesterday and Tomorrow: California Women Artists, edited by Sylvia Moore, Midmarch Arts Press, New York, 1989, 93.
Women Artists of the American West, edited by Susan Ressler, McFarland and Company, Inc., 2003, 245-246.
Women Artists of the American West, Helen Hyde Printmaker, Joan M. Jenson, http://www.cla.purdue.edu/waaw/jensen/hyde.html, 1998, retrieved 5/8/14.
Artelino, Japanese Prints, Helen Hyde, http://www.artelino.com/articles/helen-hyde.asp, retrieved 5/8/14.