Artist of the moment….Shiko Munakata

Shino Munakata was born in the year 1903 in Aomori, Honshu, Japan  and is considered by many to be foremost Japanese printmaker of the twentieth century. In addition to painting the artist also was sell schooled in the art of calligraphy, was an art critic, and  even wrote poetry.

Munakata came from family of fifteen children. His father earned a living forging steel blades.

When he was thirteen years old the artist gave up school and entered his father’s business of making steel blades. This gave the artist plenty of time to sketch. Some inspiration was provided to Munakata after seeing the work of Vincent Van Gogh in 1924. Munakata relocated to Tokyo, Japan and after 4 years of refusals, was granted admission of his art to the Imperial Exhibition in 1928.

In 1927 the artist took his first steps into the art of printmaking.

Another interesting fact about the artist is that he had no formal pupils, but many artists studied his work and he inspired many younger artists.

The artist was in high demand around the globe for his prints. Munakata won prizes for his work at the Sao Paulo Biennale. Another key prize was given to the artist from a show that took place in Lugano, Switzerland.

Price range information: Works range from $2,000 to $50,000.

Munakata is found in many museum collections in his native of Japan.

In this clip a great montage of works by Shiko Munakata:

The artist passed away in 1975.

In this clip a curator talks about a print made by Munakata in 1957  dealing with fish, flowers, and a female Buddha.

Munakata’s work is often forged and copied for a quick sale very similar to the work of Salvador Dali.

My favorite thing about this artist is his life story. Similar to other Asian artists, he took a wife, but had to live apart from her until he was successful as an artist.



  1. Shiko Munakata — Very interesting article !

    Many of Shiko Munakata’s woodblock prints were done both in a black and white as well as a print which was hand colored by the artist.

    The two different versions give a totally different visual impact.

    How do see the artistic value of Shiko Munakata’s black and white versus the colored woodblock prints

    Look at the middle of the above rather long page to see the images.

    What do you think?

    • diattaart1 Said:

      Both works capture a great deal of energy. His black and white works show great draftsmanship skills.

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