Past Artist of the Month

 

Tsakeji Asano

Asano Takeji was born in 1900 in Kyoto where he studied arts and crafts at the Kyoto School of painting with Tomikichiro Tokuriki. Among his early teachers was the artist and printmaker Tsuchida Bakusen. Asano helped to organize the Kyoto Creative Print Society (Kyoto Sosaku-Hanga Kyoka) in 1929. He became an active member of the sosaku hanga group in Kyoto. He expanded his skills in print design as well as learning the skills of carving and printing which enabled him to create some self-carved and self-printed series of landscape prints. His main fame came in the 1950s and many of his works have been published by Unsodo. His favorite subject was landscapes.

Asano became friends with the American artist Ben Shahn (1898-1969), during Shahn’s visit to Japan in 1964, and continued that friendship until Shahn’s death. Shahn produced art in many mediums including woodblock prints. Purportedly, each artist had some influence on the other.

Click on any art item and you will be linked to more information about it.

 

Tsukioka Kogyo

Kōgyo’s work was mainly prints about the traditional theater of Noh, a Japanese art form where actors wear masks to denote their characters. Noh plays are based on Japanese historical stories and myths. The actors perform with minimal stage design.

Kogyo created over 550 prints, in three major print series, documenting Noh performances, with focus on the costumes and poses of the actors. These prints appeared in magazines, books and posters. At the age of fifteen he apprenticed with the great woodblock artist Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, who had married his mother. His interest in Noh was likely sparked by the best know Meiji artist Yoshitoshi, who had a lifelong fascination with Noh. He went on to study with the woodblock artist Ogata Gekkō and developed a style that synthesized Western and traditional Japanese artistic styles. The Noh prints created by Kōgyo serve as an artistically elegant and beautiful record of this theatrical genre’s customs and performances.

Kogyo lived most of his life during the Meiji era when Japan was changing radically. His technique emphasized the beautiful costumes of the Noh actors by using metallic pigments and other new techniques.

 

Takeji Asano

Takeji Asano was born in 1900 in Kyoto where he studied arts and crafts at the Kyoto School of painting with Tomikichiro Tokuriki. Among his early teachers was the artist and printmaker Tsuchida Bakusen. Asano helped to organize the Kyoto Creative Print Society (Kyoto Sosaku-Hanga Kyoka) in 1929. He became an active member of the sosaku hanga group in Kyoto. He expanded his skills in print design as well as learning the skills of carving and printing which enabled him to create some self-carved and self-printed series of landscape prints. His main fame came in the 1950s and many of his works have been published by Unsodo. His favorite subject was landscapes. He became friends with the American artist Ben Shahn (1898-1969), during Shahn’s visit to Japan in 1964, and continued that friendship until Shahn’s death.

Takeji was one of the rare artists who produced both Shin Hanga (new prints) and Sosaku Hanga (creative prints). Among my favorites are: “Twilight in Yakushiji Temple” with its bright red pagoda against a dark blue sky and “Drizzling Rain in Ukimido” with a woman holding a blue parasol walking along Lake Biwa towards a temple built over the water. We have selected a variety of Asano prints as a starting point and will be adding more prints in the coming months.

 

Featured Japanese Woodblock Prints by Toshi Yoshida

This month our highlight is the works by Toshi Yoshida (1911-1995), the eldest son of the great Shin Hanga artist Hiroshi Yoshida.
Toshi’s artistic career was a long struggle between fidelity to his father’s legacy and freedom from it. Hiroshi, a landscape artist, dictated Toshi’s early artistic development. Although Toshi preferred animals as his primary subject, he spent the 1930’s travelling with his father making landscape prints. At times he would be working side by side with his father. During his career, he undertook extensive travels all over the world including the USA, Canada, India, Africa, Australia, and even Antarctica. His early print subjects were mostly landscapes or animals depicted in a realistic style. After the death of his father Hiroshi in 1950, Toshi began a series of abstract woodcuts influenced by his artist brother Hodaka, that lasted until 1971. After that he returned to his affinity for animals and focused on animals as his subject until his death in 1995.

Toshi had a long career and produced a large number of prints. Among my favorites are: “Rangoon” with it’s golden stupa and “Village in Harima” with the children playing in a village street. We have selected a variety of Toshi prints as a starting point and will be adding more prints in the coming months.

December 2018

Featured Japanese Woodblock Prints by
Paul Jacoulet (1896-1960).

 

This month the highlight is works by Paul Jacoulet, a Western artist who mastered the Japanese woodblock print. He was known for portraits of indigenous people throughout eastern Asia and the Pacific islands.

Born in 1896, Paul’s family moved from France to Tokyo in 1899 when Paul Jacoulet was three years old. He completed his education in Tokyo as the only Westerner in his class, and was immersed in Japanese culture for the duration of his life. Jacoulet’s artistic inclinations intensified in the 1920s as he continued the study of oil painting and ukiyo-e painting. He also played the shamisen, a three-stringed musical instrument, and practiced gidayu, the chanted and sung texts of the traditional puppet theatre. During this time, Jacoulet studied thousands of Japanese woodblock prints and was drawn to the work of the Edo period artist Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806). Following in the collaborative tradition of ukiyo-e printmaking, Jacoulet worked with Japanese artists to create a distinct body of woodblock prints between 1934 and 1960. He collaborated with many distinguished carvers and printers. He was known for the details in his portraits, especially the eyes, hands, and feet of his subjects.

Among my favorites is the “Shepherds of the High Mountains” and “The Chinese Gamblers.” We have selected a variety of his prints as a starting point and will be adding more prints in the coming months.
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October 2018

Featured Japanese Woodblock Prints by
Nisaburo Ito (1910-1988)

Self-portrait of Ito Nisaburo – 1927

This month we are featuring Nisaburo Ito.  He was both a painter and printmaker who studied painting under Tsuchida Bakusen at what is now the Kyoto University of the Arts. As a printmaker, he produced some works with the publisher Uchida. His primary subjects were Kyoto landscapes and flowers with birds. He drew on both Chinese and Japanese images to create designs ranging from minimalistic in color and composition to strongly traditional.  Among my favorites is the “Inns at Arima Hot Springs” and “Ninnaji Temple Gate in the Snow.”  We have selected a variety of his prints as a starting point and will be adding more prints each month.

September 2018

Featured Japanese Woodblock Prints by
Eiichi Kotozuka

Kotozuka seal koto

This month we are featuring Eiichi Kotozuka (1906-1979).  He was born in Osaka but lived and worked in Kyoto. He worked closely with several other woodblock print artists including last month’s featured artist Tomikichiro Tokuriki.  Together they were among the founders of the Sosaku Hanga movement.  His print style goes from stark black and white landscapes with shrines and pagodas to soft scenes of houses and shops that almost look like watercolors.   Among my favorites are the ones that feature carp kites in the wind, studies of bamboo, and flower girls from Ohara. We have selected a variety of his prints as a starting point and will be adding more prints each month.

Click on any art item and you will be linked to more information about it.

AUGUST 2018
Featured Japanese Woodblock Prints by

Tomikichiro Tokuriki

This month we are featuring Tomikichiro Tokuriki (1902-1999). He did an astonishing number of prints over a long career. He was an accomplished artist with credentials in both the shin hanga style and sosuku hanga style of woodblock print artistry. He came from a long line of artists. We have selected a variety of his prints as a starting point and will be adding more prints each month.

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