Posts Tagged ‘sosaku-hanga’

Artist of the moment……….Koshiro Onchi


Koshiro Onchi was is sometimes called the father of the sosaku hanga movement. Onchi was renown for his rather abstract style.

Koshiro Onchi was born in Tokyo, Japan in the year 1895. His family were aristocrats and Onchi received excellent education.

The artist attended Tokyo School of Fine Arts where he studied painting and sculpture.

Onchi was both a painter and photographer. He also worked in a realist style in addition to his abstract style.

Below we visit a show featuring the work of Koshiro Onchi that took place recently at the Art Institute of Chicago:

Onchi passed away in 1955.

Price range information: Sorry none available.

Over his career, Koshiro Onchi designed more than 1,000 books.

Of his works I prefer the abstracts. These have a great sense of movement and variety of color. The design is simple but beautiful.



Artist of the moment…..Maekawa Senpan


Maekawa Senpan was a wonderful printmaker born in Kyoto, Japan in the year 1880. Senpan’s family ran a small business and the artist loved cartoons. Senpan was able to get many jobs creating comics and even had a strip in the Sunday paper.

Senpan was one of the first Sosaku Hanga artists that tried to do everything involved with the printing process himself. These first editions were not very good quality, were very small, and hardly anyone bought them.

After about a decade of printing by himself Senpan was able to master the technique.

Though many works were in his house that was bombed during World War 2, the artist was able to find great financial success with the American soldiers and businessman that occupied his country after the war. It was a great time for many of the printmakers.

Senpan enjoyed depicting people at leisure, such as going for a swim or to the spa. He also created landscapes showing the quiet farm life of the countryside.

Maekawa Senpan passed away in 1960.

Price range information: Sorry none available.



Artist of the moment…..Inagaki Tomoo

Inagaki Tomoo was a Japanese printmaker born in Tokyo, Japan in the year 1902. Like many other sosaku- hanga artists he was inspired and mentored by Koshiro Onchi and Un-ichi Hiratsuka. Tomoo was a renown printmaker working with many subjects from landscapes, animals, and florals.

For his working process Tomoo would make preliminary drawings using grid lines to make sure items were located with a great sense of design.

Inagaki Tomoo studied with print master Hamada Masuji. He also went to an art high school. After this he opened his own design studio, but this dream was interrupted by the demands of World War Two.

The artist began to have his work published in 1924 appearing in a leading arts magazine titled shi to hanga that featured sosaku- hanga artists and focused on visual arts  (printmaking in particular) and poetry.

Very few print artists during this era were able to make a living entirely from their prints. Inagaki Tomoo worked in a steel factory and also taught art at the high school art.

Tomoo is renown for his prints of animals. Tomoo was  legendary for his portrayal of cats. The artist worked with other animals, but his cats are the most renown. He began to print them in the 1950s.

Tomoo flourished the most in his career in the 1950s.

Inagaki Tomoo passed away in 1980.

Price range information: Works range from $500 to $5,000.

Love those cats!


Artist of the moment……Gen Yamaguchi

Gen Yamaguchi was born in the year 1896 in Shizuoka prefecture. Yamaguchi was another leader of the sosaku- hanga movement. Yamaguchi’s family was quite wealthy. His father owned beer and liquor companies. As for subject matter Gen Yamaguchi enjoyed experimenting with different materials and techniques. For his prints he worked with the traditional landscape but also created many abstract works.

He was part of a group of sosaku- hanga artists that would meet the first thursday of each month.

A main mentor for the artist was master printmaker Koshiro Onchi.

Yamaguchi burst onto the international scene after World War II. The artist won prizes at international exhibitions including one important prize in Lugano, Switzerland that exposed him to worldwide art collectors.

Gen Yamaguchi passed away in 1976.

Price range information: Prices range from $1,000 to $3,000.

I enjoy the style of the abstract work by the artist as these works include a great sense of design that reminds of the great artist Wassily Kandinsky.


Artist of the moment……Maki Haku

Maki Haku was the artistic name of Japanese printmaker Maejima Tadaaki. Maejima Tadaaki was born in the year 1924 in Ibaraki Prefecture. Maki Haki is renown for his work with calligraphy, text, and printmaking. Many works are abstract paintings and also poems. Many works are actually very old Chinese characters that were borrowed by the Japanese. The artist would start with a base, then refine the shape to make it more elegant and calligraphic.

The artist was trained as a kamakaze pilot. A pilot that is trained for a death mission. After leaving the service and the end of World War 2 the artist taught at the high school level and continued to pursue art on his own.

Price range information: Works range from $500 to $3,000.

The artist is associated with the sosaku-hanga movement.

Maki Haku is included in the Los Angeles County Art Collection.

The artist passed away in 2000.

Its great to see abstraction and text involved in printmaking. I only wish I knew what the text stated!  Maki Haku was also tremendously skilled at depicting floral scenes.


Artist of the moment…..Junichiro Sekino

Junichiro Sekino was a Japanese artist born in the year 1914 in Aomori, Japan. Sekino was a prolific painter and printmaker associated with the sosaku-hanga movement that specialized the importance of the artist, far more so than any period of time before in Eastern art. The artist drew from a wide mix of artists to develop his own style including the great printmaker Albert Durer and of course Hiroshige.

Price range information: Works range from $1,000 to $8,000.

A childhood friend was the renown artist Shiko Munakata. Munakata would become known as the “Japanese Picasso.”

Junichiro Sekino found his greatest success after participating in a show backed by the government. It was remarkable for such a young artist to be invited to the show yet alone win a prize. This show was in 1936. Three years later the artist would move to Tokyo, Japan to study with the artist seen as the founder of the sosaku-hanga movement Koshiro Onchi.

The artist was renown for his work with the landscape and architecture. In this clip we see many examples of his work in this genre:

And some fine examples of Sekino’s work with the figure:

I enjoy the landscapes of the woodblock artists the most. My favorite landscape of this artist is the last in the gallery, titled “Night in Montmarte” the work was produced in 1959.

Junichiro Sekino passed away in 1988.


Artist of the moment…….Tadashige Ono

Tadashige Ono was an internationally collected artist born in Tokyo, Japan in the year 1909. Tadashige Ono was a prolific woodblock and printmaking artist with his main subject being rural or urban landscapes. Ono was part of a movement in Japan called the Sosaku-Hanga movement that put the artist in the forefront of paintings. Rather than try to create a balance and harmony, for the first time artists were given the freedom just to create!

Before he became famous for his images of the landscape Tadashige Ono was focused on creating art that represented the everyday laborer such as farmers or other members of the working class.

For his artistic education Ono attended the Hongo Art Institute.

Tadashige Ono published several books showcasing his woodblock art.

Over his lifetime the artist taught at many colleges including the Tokyo University of Fine Arts.

Tadashige Ono passed away in 1990 at the age of 81 years old.

In this clip a great montage of works by Tadashige Ono. Many works include Ono’s most recognized subject, the urban landscape.

Price range information: Sorry none available.