Posts Tagged ‘woodblock’

Artist of the moment…………Shiro Takagi



Shiro Takagi was a wonderful printmaker renown for his work with the landscape and birds. Takagi Shiro was born in Hirosaki, Aomori prefecture, Japan in the year 1934.

The artist attended Musashino College of Fine Art located in Tokyo, Japan. The artist quit before graduating as he didn’t like the class structure. Takagi also studied privately with an established printmaker, Amano Kunihiro.

Takagi won many prizes at shows featuring print works in both Japan and Brazil.

Shiro Takagi passed away in 1998.

The artist is part of the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Price range information: Sorry none available.

As mentioned in a recent post, many woodblock print artists use the pattern and grain of the wood to give their finished work a high level of abstraction. Takagi sometimes uses the pattern of wood as the clouds and sky.



Artist of the moment……….Hajime Namiki


Hajime Namiki is a Japanese woodblock master renown for his prints of trees. Hajime Namiki was born Tokyo, Japan in the year 1947.

Namiki studied with another master woodblock artist named Shigeru Ogura.Although he is associated with prints, Namiki began his art career as a sculptor. Ogura was a highly regarded sculptor Namiki began studying with him in 1965. The artist began to work with prints in the 1970s.

Namiki works often with oil pigments on paper. In addition he often uses gold and silver leaf in his work.

The paper he uses is Torinoko Paper.

Price range information: Sorry none available.

Trees are a wonderful subject because they have very interesting texture in the bark. The artist can also use the shapes of the leaves and negative space between branches in addition to color to make trees a wonderful subject to use for expression.

Some other fantastic artists who are renown for their work with trees include Scott Duce, Richard Schmid, Albert Handell, and Lynn Boggess. Natasha Wescoat, and Peter Hoffer.



Artist of the moment…….Motosugu Sugiyama…


Motosugu Sugiyama was a wonderful artist and businessman born in Japan in the year 1925. His is renown for his depictions of landscapes and harbors.

The artist married and settled down in Tokyo, Japan. His chosen career at the time was as a businessman.

Years later at the age of 50 he began taking woodblock print lessons and studied with master printmaker Funasaka Yoshisuke.

He became a full time professional artist at the age of 70!

Price range information: Sorry none available. The artist worked in small print edition sizes of 50 to 100 prints.

What wonderful design and color from this artist. If you are looking for a painting or print that will go up in value, Sugiyama does not yet receive the recognition or reputation of his peer group, who were artists for their entire lives rather than just the latter stages of their lives.




Artist of the moment…..Toshi Yoshida

Toshi Yoshida was the son of master Japanese printmaker Hiroshi Yoshida. Toshi Yoshida was born in the year 1911 in Tokyo, Japan. Toshi was the oldest son of Hiroshi Yoshida. His mother Fujio was also an artist, both have been profiled here already. Even his grandfather was an artist! So he was born into a perfect environment for an artist to thrive.

The artist began to draw at the age of three. Not scribbles but actual realism.

Another trait inherited from his father, was to travel and make paintings on location and of the sights he visited. Sometimes both artists would visit the same place, such as the teenagers trip abroad with his father to the county of India.

Toshi Yoshida was a famous printmaker and renown for his landscapes and paintings of wildlife.

In this clip we take a closer look at a print of a black panther made by the artist. Also shown are works after his father’s death and his foray into more abstract work:

In this clip a great montage of works by Toshi Yoshida:

In 1980 he opened a printmaking school located in Nagano Prefecture.

Toshi Yoshida passed away in 1995.

Price range information: Most prints priced between $500 and $5,000.

I love the landscapes the most of any works of this artist. His abstract works are very flowing and creative.


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.


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……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…..Chizuko Yoshida

Chizuko Yoshida is one of few women artists working in the Japanese tradition of the woodblock. Chizuko Yoshida was born in the year 1924. Like many other families included here from the Wyeths, to the Ashevak, to the Peale family, the Yoshida family is renowned throughout Japan for their artistic talents as a family.

Price range information: Sorry none available.

For her collegiate education Yoshida attended Hongo Art Institute.

Her husband’s name was Hodaka Yoshida. He lived from 1926 to 1995. He was a woodblock artist with a modern twist. Below an example of his style. I love to look at comparisons with artists from the same family. For instance looking at a works of the Gruppe family or my favorite painter of snow, Guy Wiggins. Its great to look at the paintings and see what stylistic points they picked up from other family members. Hodaka Yoshida enjoyed using symmetry in his artwork.


In addition Hodaka’s mother named Fujio Yoshida, was also a renowned artist. She enjoyed printmaking and here is an example of her style.


Chizuko and husband Hodaka Yoshida’s daughter is also a woodblock artist. Its very out of the ordinary to have three female artists come from one family. Talk about a dynasty!

Yoshida is included in the collection of the British Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, The Yokohama Museum of Art in Japan.


Artist of the moment…….. Joichi Hoshi

Joichi Hoshi was a wonderful artist born in 1911 in Niigata Prefecture.  Joichi Hoshi is renown for his woodblock prints depicting trees. In the beginning of his career the artist focused on skyscapes, constellations, and landscapes. It was during the 1970s that Hoshi began to specialize in trees.

His series of skyscapes and the cosmos was inspired by a trip to Mongolia. Hoshi thought the dark skies made the stars and the cosmos brilliant due to the contrast.

During the end of his life the artist had as many as four assistants. The house where he kept a studio was designed with automatic sliding doors. A door would open automatically when a person neared it. Hoshi didn’t want anyone to ever damage a print or paper.

The artist taught in Japan for more than two decades.

in 1956 the artist graduated from college earning an art degree from Musashino University of Art. Since he started later in life for his artistic career, he had a great work ethic. During college he didn’t have much money so his wife went to live with her parents and he lived by himself. What dedication!

Joichi Hoshi passed away in 1979.

Price range information:  $1,000 to $7,000.

As a huge fan of mixed media artist I love the works that Hoshi creates using gold leaf. The gold leaf and the ink make a wonderful and bold contrast. One you add in the shape of the tree silhouette and sky you have the perfect mix of realism and abstraction!


Artist of the moment…..Christiane Baumgartner

Christiane Baumgartner was born in Leipzig, Germany in the year 1967. The artist has a great story in that she started off being a traditional painter, discovered her love of  video art, and then found her own unique voice using a still from video as the basis of her woodblock. The artist creates her woodcuts on traditional Japanese paper.

For her artistic education Baumgartner attended school in Germany before earning a masters degree in printmaking from the Royal College of Art located in London.

Has done a residency in the country of Vietnam.

In this clip from the Tate, we listen to the artist briefly explain her unique blend of video and printmaking:

Price range information: Sorry none available.

What a great blend of modernism( the use of the video still as a basis for drawing) and the traditional printmaking skills Baumgartner developed whilst at the Royal College of Art.


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