Posts Tagged ‘sosuka- hanga’

Artist of the moment…….Masao Maeda

Masao Maeda was a Japanese printmaker who was born in Hokkaido, Japan in the year 1904.  Hokkaido is a small island of Japan. The main subject for Maeda were landscapes. The artist wanted to be an artist since being a very young boy. Maeda worked in oils when he was learning and developing this style. At this time he was painting in oils and in a more western style. By the 1940s Maeda concentrated solely on printmaking.

For his works containing mountains Maeda would hike to the middle ground and paint and sketch from this location. He was an avid hiker.

For his artistic education Maeda attended the Kawabata Painting School.

A major influence and mentor for Maeda was the artist Hiratsuka Unichi. Unichi was one of the most influential printmakers and blow a fine example of his work.


At the beginning of his artistic career Masao Maeda studied with a Japanese painter that was renown for painting in “western” style named Ryuzaburo Umehara. Below an example of his work. Maeda would soon meet other artists who were taking part in the sosuka-hanga movement and Maeda would soon follow this path.


Masao Maeda passed away in 1974.

Price range information:  Sorry none available.


Artist of the moment……Un’ichi Hiratsuka

Un’ichi Hiratsuka was born in the year 1895 in Matsue, Shimane a city on the coast of Japan. Hiratsuka is associated with the sosuka-hanga movement. The artist was also a talented carver of wood. The artist taught at the Tokyo School of Fine Art where he was the first printmaking artist. He came from a line of architects as his dad erected shrines and his grandfather was an architect of buildings.

Hiratsuka was a mentor to sosuka-hanga printmaker Shiko Munakata.

For some of his prints the artist used a square-end chisel to make his mark.

Hiratsuka worked in color  in the early part of his career and then after World War 2 began working in black and white.

In this clip a great documentary on the artist and his life. Many works are shown:

Extra lifestyle points for this artist as he passed away in 1997 at the age of 102 years of age! One day after his 102 birthday.


Artist of the moment……Sadao Watanabe

Sadao Watanabe was a Japanese printmaker born in Tokyo, Japan in the year 1913. Sadao Watanabe was renown for his prints dealing with religious subjects. I can’t help but think his illustrations gave hope and an idea of how a certain story might be pictured. Even when Christ appears on the cross in his art, the work has a vibrant and strong message, not dark and gloomy. His art is very emotional work as far as the printmaking artists are concerned.

Sadao Watanabe is associated with the sosuka- hanga movement.

Sadao Watanabe passed away in 1996.

In this clip we view a book showing many religious prints by Sadao Watanabe. How great these illustrations were for children for adults that were unable to read:

When he was ten the artist’s father died. He quit school and became an apprentice in a fabric dyer’s shop. A woman from his neighborhood invited the artist to attend her church. Sadao Watanabe joined the church and found his genre at the same time.

After seeing an exhibition by Serizawa Keisuke’s artwork at a museum, Sadao Watanabe took some classes from this master artist and the two became close friends. Keisuke was  renowned folk artist  and these artisans used natural materials in their dyes giving them a vibrant and lively color. Watanabe also used this method of production.

A most interesting thought by Sadao Watanabe will bring this article to a close. He preferred that his artwork hang in places where people gather, because Jesus brought the gospel for the people.

Price range information: Most works priced between $500 and $3,000.

What an amazing artist and story!