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Artist's Bio

Click on the artists' names below, or scroll down the page to view the artists' biographies

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20th Century Artists

19th Century Artists

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China Trade

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Umetaro Azechi (1902-1999)

Born in 1902 in Ehime prefecture in Shikoku, Umetaro Azechi studied painting by correspondence course. In 1920 he moved to Tokyo only to be forced to return home after the 1923 earthquake. He returned to Tokyo in 1925 where he worked in a government printing office. While there, he began making prints by scratching out designs on lead plates, inking them and using a teacup as a baren. Urged by Un-ichi Hiratsuka to exhibit with the Nihon Sosaku-Hanga Kyokai (Japan Creative Print Association), Azechi caught the eye of and was encouraged by Onchi, Koshiro and Maekawa Senpan. He exhibited widely and contributed to numerous publications. His prints from the 1920's and 1930's depicted landscapes, but after World War II he developed his distinctive angular style using bold colors, usually portraying mountains and mountain men, subjects for which he is best known. An accomplished mountaineer, who is well known in Japan for his writings about the mountains, Azechi maintained a vigorous lifestyle well into his 90's. He passed away in the Spring of 1999. Umetaro Azechi works have been exhibited in Sao Paulo, Lugano and Tokyo Biennials and are in the collections of museums worldwide, including: The British Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts and Cincinnati Art Museum.

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Charles W. Bartlett (1860-1940)

Born in Dorsetshire, England, in 1860, Charles W. Bartlett studied chemistry and metallurgy and worked in that field for several years before entering the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 1883. After three years of study, he entered the Academie Julian in Paris. Returning to England in 1889, he then traveled to Britan and Italy with his friend Frank Brangwyn creating watercolor works. In 1913, he traveled to Asia with his wife, visiting India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka before arriving in Japan, via China, in the Autumn of 1915. Bartlett visited the Watanabe Print Shop with sketches and watercolors from his journey, and in 1916 Watanabe produced 21 prints from the Bartlett paintings. Bartlett left Japan in 1917, on his way to England via Hawaii. He stopped in Honolulu and ended up settling there for the rest of his life. His paintings and woodblock prints were well received in Honolulu, and Bartlett quickly became an important figure in the local art world. He returned to Japan in 1919, where Watanabe published 16 works including Hawaiian subjects. Charles W. Bartlett held a number of one-man shows in Hawaii and the U.S. mainland, and his painting and prints were published in Paradise of the Pacific magazine. In 1933 he established the Honolulu Print Makers. A retrospective exhibition was mounted at the Honolulu Academy of Arts in 1939, and he passed away in April of 1940.

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Auguste Borget (1808-1877)

Born in Issoudun, France in 1808, Auguste Borget was schooled in nearby Bourges. At age 21, he went to Paris where he became a close friend of Honore Balzac. In 1836, he began an around-the-world voyage. After spending time in South America, Borget arrived in Hong Kong/Macao in August 1838, first having traveled along the Kwangtung and Fuken coast. He went to Canton in September 1838, and stayed in the region for 10 months. Contemporary records show that he met George Chinnery, the great English artist, who commented on his talent. They went on sketching trips together. In July 1839 he visited Manila, and in August 1939 he sailed for India via Singapore and the Straits of Malacca, arriving in Calcutta. In 1840 he traveled widely in India, returning to Paris in the summer of 1840. His fine sketches and watercolors from China were the basis for his most famous publication; China and The Chinese, published in 1842. His book "La Chine ouverte" was illustrated with fine woodcut engravings. A major Salon of his original works, including watercolors and boldly executed oil paintings was held in Paris in 1843. Tragically, a fire destroyed the majority of the paintings. As a result, his original works are rare. Auguste Borget is represented in the Collections of Musee de la Roche (Issoudun), Musee Bertrand, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Macao Museum of Art, The National Museum of Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank and the Jardine Matheson Corporation.

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Chikanobu (1838-1912)

Born in Niigata Prefecture as Hashimoto Tadayoshi, Chikanobu was trained in Kano School painting, and later studied with the Utagawa masters Kuniyoshi and Kunisada, and finally with Toyohara Kunichika. He received his artist’s name from Kunichika. While his artistic activity began in the Bunkyu era (1861-1864) he made his artistic reputation in the 1880’s with triptychs illustrating political events of the Meiji period, depictions of theImperial family, and customs and manners of a changing Japan; particularly women and children. One of his series of triptychs is entitled, "The Customs of the Inner Palace of the Chiyoda Castle". Like many other artists of the period, Chikanobu also produced triptychs of the Sino-Japanese war of 1894-1895.

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Eisen (1790-1848)

Eisen was a Ukiyo-e painter, printmaker, and illustrator who lived in Edo from 1790 through 1848. He specialized in bijin-ga, erotica, and landscapes, collaborating with Hiroshige on the "Kisokaido" (Sixty-Nine Stations of the Kiso Highway). Along with Hiroshige, Eisen was one of the most popular and prolific printmakers of the period.

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Eizan (1787-1867)

An Ukiyo-e painter and printmaker, Eizan lived in Edo (now Tokyo). The son of Kikugawa Eiji, a maker of fans and a Kano-style painter. Eizan was taught first by his father and then by Suzuki Nanrei and Iwakubo Hokkei. He was also influenced by Utamaro and Hokusai. From the early 1800s until he retired about 1830, he became the leading designer of bijin-ga (based on Utamaro's late style); actor prints and erotica (Shunga). Groups of women and children were also among his favorite subjects. Eizan works are represented in numerous collections, including the British Museum, Ashmolean, Fine Arts (San Francisco), Honolulu, Stanford, Minneapolis, and Cincinnati.

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Gakutei (1786-1868)

An Ukiyo-e printmaker, Gakutei was a native of Edo, but lived and worked in Osaka in the 1830's. His work was much influenced by Hokusai. A Kyoka poet, Gakutei also put his own poems on his prints. Popular in his time, he was a good craftsman who made many excellent surimono and book illustrations.

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Hashiguchi Goyo (1880-1921)

Hashiguchi Goyo, born in Kagoshima Pref., the son of a samurai and amateur painter, graduated in 1905 as the top student in the Western Painting department of the Tokyo School of Fine Arts. In 1911, he won first prize for an Ukiyo-e poster design contest sponsored by the Mitsukoshi Department Store. Although in poor health, he contributed articles on various Ukiyo-e studies to print magazines. He caught the eye of Watanabe Shozaburo who urged him to design prints for production by Watanabe. He designed a single print (Bathing) which Watanabe published in 1915, but decided thereafter to work on his own. A fine draftsman, many of his excellent figure studies drawn from live models are extant. Prior to his death, he self-published 13 prints, for a total of 14. After his death, his nephew Yasuo published seven new designs with blocks that he had inherited from his uncle. Hashiguchi Goyo is one of the most celebrated shin-hanga artists, known for his stunning works of beautiful women or bijin-ga. His prints and designs were lavishly printed, often with the use of fine mica backgrounds. Goyo’s standards were so high that only prints of superior quality were sold. Due to Goyo’s exacting standards these prints were published in very small editions, usually less than eighty. They were expensive to create and were priced much higher than other shin-hanga prints of the time. They are considered to be the most important bijin-e prints of the period.

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Katsunori Hamanishi (b. 1949)

Katsunori Hamanishi was born in Hokkaido, Japan in 1949. Hamanishi, one the leading mezzotint artist in the world, chose the most demanding of printmaking methods, the art of mezzotint. His ability to meticulously create his art using this process is a trial in itself. His work is depicted in representations of twigs, ropes, branches, and wires in a three-dimensional form on paper, exemplifying his concern with the minutiae’s of the world. The addition of color and metallic leaf adds a new touch to the time consuming process of creating such imaginative work.

After many years of learning his craft, his work become recognizable after winning numerous awards at the Ibiza International Print Biennial in 1978 and the Valparaiso International Exhibition in Chile 1989. Exhibitions have been shown in Philadelphia, Tokyo, Belgium, Kyoto, San Francisco, and Paris. His works also reside in the permanent collection of The Art Institute of Chicago, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Museum of Modern Art, The Library of Congress, and The Krakow National Museum.

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Un-ichi Hiratsuka (1895-1997)

Born in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture in 1895, Un-ichi Hiratsuka worked for the Matsue City office. He attended a short course in watercolor from Ishii Hakutei in 1913, and with encouragement from Hokitei, he moved to Tokyo in 1915 where he studied woodblock carving with the master carver Igami Bonkotsu for 10 months. He become involved with the Sosaku-Hanga movement in 1920. Between 1922 and 1932 he published books about printing, taught frame making, and gave lectures. In 1935 he was named to head the newly established printmaking department at Tokyo University of Fine Arts. He was invited to Peking to teach printmaking in 1943, and in 1949 published Printmaking Techniques. Exhibitions include: Lugano International Print Biennial, 1958; Shimane Prefectural Museum, 1979; 88th Birthday Exhibition, Wako Department Store, Tokyo 1983; Japan-US Cultural Center, Los Angeles; 1985; Smithsonian Institution, Washington. D.C. 1987. Hiratsuka is greatly respected as a pioneer of the sosaku-hanga movement and teacher of many of the leading artists in courses he conducted throughout Japan. In 1962 he moved to Washington, DC where he continued to print and exhibit. An exhibition of his works will opened at the Smithsonian Institution in June 1999. Un-ichi Hiratsuka works reside in collections worldwide including: Tokyo Museum of Modern Art; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Boston Museum of Fine Arts; New York Metropolitan Museum; Rockefeller Foundation, New York; Library of Congress, and Washington, DC.

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Yuji Hiratsuka (b. 1954)

Born in Osaka in 1954, Yuji Hiratsuka graduated from Tokyo Art Teacher's University in 1978. He received an M.A. from New Mexico State University in 1987 and an M.F.A. from Indiana University in 1990. The artist has spent the last decade in the United States, where he has had more than 40 one-man shows. His work suggests Ukiyo-e, brought up-to-date with Western clothes. Bright colors and whimsical depictions further characterize his distinctive style. The prints are labor intensive works which start as etchings with drypoint, aquatint, and softground printed on thin Kurotani paper. Hiratsuka makes continuous alterations to the plate, adding a series of colors. He then applies delicate hand tints to the back of each print and finishes with "chine colle" in which glue is applied to the Kurotani. The Kurotani is then backed with heavy rag paper, both passing through a press to bond the papers together. In effect, each print is an artist's proof or monoprint because of the continuous plate alterations and hand finishing. Editions are small: never more than 50 in number. Yuji Hiratsuka work is represented in numerous collections including: Tokyo Central Museum, New York Museum of Modern Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Library of Congress, The British Museum and the Achenback Foundation for Graphic Arts, San Francisco.

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Takahashi Hiroaki (Shotei) (1871-1944)

Takahashi Hiroaki Shotei was born in Asakusa, Tokyo in 1871. When he was nine years old he began studying Japanese-style painting with his uncle Matsumoto Fuko (1840-1923). By age 16 he was working at the Imperial Household Department of Foreign Affairs, copying designs of foreign medals and ceremonial objects. In 1891, together with Terazaki Kogyo, he founded the Japan Youth Painting Society. Later he submitted paintings to exhibitions and also worked as an illustrator of scientific textbooks, magazines, and newspapers. In 1907 he became the first artist recruited by Watanabe Shozaburo and at that time began to use the artist's name "Shotei". In 1921 he began to also use the name "Hiroaki". By the time of the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, Shotei had produced some 500 prints for Watanabe. The entire Watanabe publishing operation was destroyed in the earthquake and subsequent fire. Post-1923, Shotei produced another 250 prints for Watanabe, as well as some fine larger prints for the publisher Fusui Gabo. In addition, Shotei also produced nearly 200 designs which were published by Shobido Tanaka. Takahashi Hiroaki works were mainly exported to the West, where they were avidly sought by European and American collectors as representive views of "Old Japan"

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Hirosada (fl. 1819-1865)

Hirosada, a Ukiyo-e printmaker and pupil of Utagawa Kunimasu, lived in Osaka where he is best known for his chuban-format prints (osaka-e) depicting Kabuki performers.

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Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858)

Ando Hiroshige was born in Edo in 1797, the son of the warden of the fire department assigned to Edo Castle. He showed an early interest in art and first studied under Okajime Rinsai. In 1811, at the age of 14, he became a pupil of Utagawa Toyohiro and also studied "Nanga" painting under Ooka Umpo. During this period he became interested in Western art. In 1812, he was rewarded with the "nom d'artiste" Utagawa Hiroshige. Ando Hiroshige is his actual name. In 1833, the year following his trip along the Tokaido as a minor retainer in an official mission of the Shogun of the Kyoto Court, he produced his famous "Tokaido Gojusan Tsugi", (53 Stations of the Tokaido Trail). He gradually gave up figure prints for landscape and "Kacho-ga", subject matter provided by many trips throughout Japan. Hiroshige was very prolific and his total production numbers about 8,000 known works of art. His delightful, charming, and dexterious portrayal of Japanese life and topography made Ando Hiroshige deservedly popular in the West, and more than any other printmaker, he was responsible for the Westerner's view of "quaint Japan". His prints and sketches show great technical virtuosity and a naturalistic yet often dramatic view point. When the Japanese print was re-discovered in Europe at the end of the 19th Century, it was Hiroshige who gave Western artists -- including Whistler, Cezanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, and Van Gogh -- a new vision of nature.

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Hiroshige II (1826-1869)

Hiroshige II was a Ukiyo-e printmaker who worked under the name Shigenobu until the death of Ando Hiroshige in 1858. Upon the death of the master, who took him in as both a pupil and adopted son, he married Hiroshige's daughter and took the name "Hiroshige" (II). It is generally accepted that he completed works in progress from his master's studio, with fine designs being published through the early 1860's. About 1865, his marriage was dissolved and he retired to Yokohama, reverting to the name of Shigenobu, where he painted pictures on tea boxes and lanterns intended for export.

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Hokusai (1760-1849)

Trained as an engraver, Hokusai also learned to carve woodblocks for prints and studied under Shunsho. Early works included surimonos and illustrated volumes of verse. His first "Manga" volume appeared in 1814. After 1820, his great landscapes were produced, including "Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji". Though living an unsettled life with many changes of residence and two marriages, Hokusai was still able to produce a huge number of prints, sketches and paintings - perhaps 30,000 in all. Characterized as inventive, daring and dexterious, he is regarded as one of the greatest draftsmen of all time.

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Joichi Hoshi (1911-1979)

Joichi Hoshi was born in Niigata prefecture and educated in Taiwan. He returned to Japan after World War II, where he studied oil painting. He has been exhibited at the Sao Paulo and Tokyo Print Biennials. Strongly attracted to elements of nature, the artist's earlier prints depict stars and constellations, but by the 1970's, he focused on the subject of trees -- the images for which he is best known.

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Keinen Imao (1845-1924)

Keinen Imao was born in Kyoto, his original name was Imao Isaburo. He studied ukiyo-e painting with Umegata Tokyo and other Japanese styles with Suzuki Hyakunen. In 1880, he began to teach as a professor at the Kyoto Prefecture School of Painting. In 1904, he became a member of the Art Committee of the Imperial Household and a Member of the Imperial Art Academy in 1919. An important Japanese style painter, Keinen specialized in Kacho-ga (Flower and Bird prints) with very realistic detail. He is best known for "Bird and Flower Albums by Keinen", 1891, a set of 4 volumes, each containing 40 prints, published by Nishimura Soemon, carved by Tanaka Hirokichi, and printed by Miki Jinzaburo.

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Toraji Ishikawa (1875-1964)

A student of Koyama Shotaro, Toraji Ishikawa entered his paintings in several exhibitions of the Meiji Fine Arts Society. One of the founding members of the Taiheiyo Gakai in 1901, he traveled in Europe and the U.S. in the early 1900s. He exhibited at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915. Toraji received the Imperial Award of the Japan Art Academy in 1950. His prints include Inland Sea Landscapes (1930s) and the series "Ten Types of Female Nudes" (1934).

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Shinsui Ito (1898-1972)

Shinsui Ito was born Ito Hajime in Tokyo. At age 10, he was forced to seek work due to an impoverished family. He was hired by the Tokyo Printing Company and earned an apprenticeship at age 14. He studied with Kaburagi Kiyokata and attended night school at the same time. Kiyokata gave him his own artist's name, "Shinsui". In 1916 Watanabe Shozaburo discovered his talent, and they collaborated on prints for the next 25 years. Watanabe exported hundreds of Shinsui prints, generating great success for them both. Shinsui's early landscape series, Eight Views of Lake Biwa inspired Kawase Hasui. His early bijin-ga are generally considered his finest works. In 1952 his woodblock designing skill was designated an Intangible Cultural Property. In 1958 he was appointed to the Japan Art Academy and in 1970 was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun.

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Paul Jacoulet (1896-1960)

Born in Paris in 1906, Paul Jacoulet showed a precocious artistic talent at a young age. As a youth his family moved to Japan where Paul began his studies as an artist at age eleven under Seiki Kuroda and Takeji Fujishima. Paul Jacoulet began by sketching places he visited on his travels through this new country he would soon fall in love with.

In 1920, Paul Jacoulet started work with the French embassy in Tokyo, but due to his frail health he was forced to resign the position. In 1929, Jacoulet made the first of many trips to the South Seas, where he then began to make woodblock prints of people in Asia, using the traditional Japanese woodblock print methods. By 1934, Paul Jacoulet arranged top woodblock carvers and printers such as Kazuo Yamagishi to assist him in producing his first woodblock prints while continuing to act as his own publisher. Thereafter, he was able to create less then two hundred different editions of woodblock prints. Not only did Paul Jacoulet use special hand-made watermarked paper made in Kyoto, but also lavish gold, silver, platinum, mother of pearl, mica, and sometimes powered semi-precious stones. The quality of material, along with his talent and subject matter made his prints unique. He also used as many as 300 different blocks for a single print. Paul Jacoulet is known as the “Frenchman of the woodblock print”. In 1941, Jacoulet chose the area of Karuizawa as his studio location and maintained this location until his death in 1960.

Paul Jacoulet’s works are in the collection of The British Museum, Vatican Museum, Pacific Asia Museum, Queen Elizabeth III, President Truman, General Douglas MacArthur, Pope Pius XII, Greta Garbo, and numerous other private collections. Paul Jacoulet spoke fluent Japanese, French, mastered the violin and the Japanese Shamisen, all while collecting over 300,000 butterflies in his lifetime.

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Shiro Kasamatsu (1898-1991)

Born in Asakusa, Tokyo, Shiro Kasamatsu began his art studies at age 13, by becoming a student of Kaburagi Kiyokata who was known for his bijin-ga works. Shiro learned Japanese-style painting, but unlike Kiyokata, Shiro painted landscapes. His paintings were exhibited at several important exhibitions including the government sponsored Bunten, where they were seen by the Tokyo publisher, Watanabe Shozaburo. Watanabe approached Shiro in 1919 and suggested that he create designs for woodblock prints. It seems likely that Kiyokata helped facilitate the collaboration, just as he had done with other students, including Kawase Hasui and Ito Shinsui. Shiro designed several landscape prints between 1919 and 1923, but the blocks were destroyed in the Watanabe studio as a result of the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake and subsequent fire. Shiro resumed his work with Watanabe in the 1930's. His landscapes depicting traditional scenes and landmarks were particularly popular with Western collectors. "Shinobazu Pond" was in such demand, that it was reprinted throughout the 1930's and 1940's. Intrigued by the creative independence of the Sosaku Hanga movement, Shiro Kasamatsu stopped working with Watanabe after WWII. It was nearly a decade before he began producing his own prints, but a number of landscape and animal prints were published by Unsodo in Kyoto during that period. By the late 1950's, Shiro struck out on his own, carving and printing his own designs in limited, numbered editions. He continued to create prints for many more years and lived to be 93.

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Hasui Kawase

Hasui Kawase was born son of a merchant family. In 1908, he became a student of Kiyokata. In 1910, Kiyokata gave Hasui his artist’s name. One of the foremost 20th-century Japanese landscape artists, Kawase Hasui produced over 600 woodblock prints during a span of 40-years. Hasui collaborated with the Shinhanga (New Prints) publisher Watanabe Shozaburo (1885-1962), who wanted to revitalize the Japanese woodblock print that was embodied in the works of Hokusai (1760-1849) and Hiroshige (1797-1858). Together, Watanabe published the majority of his works which brought great acclaim to both, while helping revive the woodblock print. Kawase Hasui was a keen traveler who was intrigued by the use of light in different seasons and landscapes. Famous for his landscapes, Hasui set himself apart as the master of landscape prints by his masterful snow scenes. In 1956, Kawase Hasui's lifelong contribution to his craft was acknowledged by the Japanese Government by naming him as a 'Living National Treasure'.

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Clifton Karhu (b. 1927)

Clifton Karhu was born in Duluth, Minnesota in 1927. From 1946 to 1948, he lived on an American navy base, in Sasebo, Japan. From 1950 to 1952, Clifton studied at the Minneapolis Art School honing his interests in art. By 1952, Clifton Karhu returned to Japan as a missionary of the Lutheran Church and was selling Bibles. While on this great venture as a missionary, he decided to become an artist by producing watercolors, oil paintings, and Sumi-e works. He would exhibit at local galleries and by doing so, gained an important reputation within the community. In 1961, he won first prize at the Chubu Taiheijo Bijutsu Kyokai Ten (The Middle Pacific Art Group Exhibition). He presented his first exhibition in Gifu prefecture where he resided for some time. By 1963, Mr. Karhu moved to Kyoto, and became highly interested in the woodblock print process. In Kyoto, he would have one of his most successful woodblock print exhibitions, which garnered his name as one of the top artists in Japan.

Since then, Clifton has exhibited his prints widely throughout the world, and today has become one of the most successful contemporary woodblock print artists. His prints often depict typical old Japanese houses, temples, rooftops, shops, and old town settings of Kyoto using bold lines, patterns, and strong colors.

Collection Exhibitions include: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Cincinnati Art Museum, Minnesota Museum of Art, Kunst Museum, Salzburg, Fogg Museum, National Gallery of Australia, American Chamber of Commerce, Harvard University, Japan Culture Institute.

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Tsuchiya Koitsu (1870-1949)

Born near Hamamatsu, Tsuchiya Koitsu went to Tokyo at age 15 to study under Matsuzaki, a carver for Kobayashi Kiyochika. Kiyochika took him into his home where he remained for 19 years. He met Watanabe Shozaburo at an exhibition of Kiyochika's prints and this led to their collaboration. From 1932, Koitsu designed landscape prints for publication by Watanabe. His prints, which are often characterized by dramatic use of light, were also published by Kawaguchi and Doi.

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Kunichika (1835-1900)

One of the last of the Ukiyo-e masters, Kunichika was born Oshima Yasohachi in 1835, in the Kyobashi district of Edo (Tokyo). The area was home to merchants and artisans and comprised the heart of the Edo culture. In early childhood he assumed the surname "Arakawa" from his mother. At age 11, he was apprenticed to the Yamagataye, a thread and yarn store in the Nihonbashi district, but preferred scribbling and sketching to learning the skills of the dry-goods trade. By 1846, when his elder brother opened a "raised picture" (oshie-e) shop, Yasohachi began to produce illustrations for him. He also designed actor portraits for battledores. In 1848, at age 13, he was accepted as an apprentice into the studio of Kunisada (Toyokuni III, 1786-1865). His first works as an apprentice date from the early 1850's and the first print to be signed, "picture by student Yasohachi", dates from 1852. His new artist's name "Kunichika" dates from 1854. His status within the studio grew, and by the time of Kunisada's death in 1865, Kunichika had been commissioned to produce several portraits of his teacher. After Kunisada's death, he was commissioned to design two memorial portraits. His increasing importance can be found in the Saikenki, a type of popular guide containing ratings of Ukiyo-e artists. In publications dating from 1865, 1867 and 1885, Kunichika's name appears among the top ten; in eighth, fifth, and fourth place, respectively.

Kunichika was little concerned for material wealth or personal appearance, and was often in debt. He thoroughly enjoyed partying and drinking and fancied the theatre. His interest in Kabuki and his portrayal of its actors gave him entree to their world and he spent hours backstage documenting the poses and facial expressions of the actors in their various roles. Contemporary reports observed that his use of color in his actor prints was the most skilful aspect of his art, in keeping with the Utagawa tradition. A master of theatrical prints, Kunichika documented the history of the Mejia-era Kabuki. His oban bust portraits are well known, but his Kabuki triptychs are among the most dramatic ever produced. He remained active up to the end of his life with documented works dating to only months before his death. Kunichika died on July 19th, 1900 at the age of 65, due to poor health and heavy drinking. His grave can still be found at the Buddhist Shingon-sect temple of Honryuji in Imado, Asakusa. His death marked the end of an era of full-color woodblock actor prints and the end of the Ukiyo-e print tradition.

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Kunisada (1786-1864)

An Ukiyo-e painter and printmaker who lived in Edo (Tokyo), Kunisada became a pupil of Toyokuni (I) at age 15, and took the name Kunisada. Known for book illustrations, actor's portraits, and bijin-ga, he produced his first work in 1807. In 1844, he took the name Toyokuni III by which he is perhaps even more well known.

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Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861)

Utagawa Kuniyoshi was a painter and Ukiyo-e printmaker who lived and worked in Edo. A student of Utagawa Toyokuni, Kuniyoshi founded his own style, which became so popular that he was often asked by men to tattoo his designs on their bodies. Kuniyoshi was particularly famous for his prints of actors, animals, and illustrations of heroic episodes.

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Kyosai (Gyosai) (1831-1889)

Born in Shimose Province, son of a Samurai, Kyosai became a painter, printmaker, and illustrator. As a youngster, he studied under Kuniyoshi. He studied painting in the Kano school and became an independent artist at age 27, settling in the Hongo area of Tokyo. He exhibited at the Vienna International Exposition in 1873 and at the Exposition of Paris in 1883. His prints are few, and feature a bold style, often with caricatures and warriors, full of fantasy and invention. Examples of work by Kyosai can be found in a number of museums, including: Ashmolean, British, Brooklyn, Cleveland, De Young, Freer, Honolulu, Metropolitan and the Rijks museum.

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Haku Maki (b. 1924)

Haku Maki was born in 1924 in Ibaraki prefecture, his given name was Maejima Tadaaki. He learned printmaking at monthly gatherings organized by Onchi Koshiro. Over the years, his work has been exhibited at numerous international exhibitions. Maki prints feature deep embossing using cement blocks. His designs are derived from Chinese characters or pottery shapes.

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Yoshitoshi Mori (1898-1992)

Born in Tokyo in 1898, Yoshitoshi Mori graduated from the Kawabata School of Fine Arts and studied stencil fabric dyeing with Yanagi Soetsu and Serizawa Keisuke. Only after the reaching 50 did he begin making stencil prints on paper. He had numerous one-man shows in Japan in the 1960's. In 1966, Mori mounted a traveling show in America sponsored by The Japan Society, New York. Between 1957 and 1977 he participated in 30 international exhibitions and group shows. In 1984 he received an honorary doctorate from Maryland University. In 1991 he was honored by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government for his long years of meritorious service. Final one-man show held at Wako Gallery Tokyo, in 1992. Mori died immediately after the show on May 29th, 1992. Yoshitoshi Mori works are represented in the Tokyo Museum of Modern Art, New York Museum of Modern Art; Art Institute of Chicago; Boston Museum of Fine Arts; and the official residence of the Prime Minister of Japan.

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Tadashi Nakayama (b. 1927)

One of Japan's best known and most widely collected woodblock printmakers, Tadashi Nakayama was born in Niigata in 1927. He began making woodblocks in 1950. He lived in Milan, London and Bath, and taught at the Bath Academy of Arts in 1964-1965. He now resides in Tokyo. Although 70 years old, Nakayama has only made about 250 prints. His printing techniques are laborious and difficult. Some works require 18 blocks, 40 or more colors and over 50 printing stages. The worldwide demand for his prints together with their limited production has assured the artist's success. His major themes include butterflies, girls, and horses. Tadashi Nakayama works can be found in many museums, including the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Library of Congress, Harvard University, Fogg Art Museum, Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts in San Francisco, Minnesota Museum of Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Australia and the Western Art Museum in Perth.

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Katsuyuki Nishijima (b. 1945)

Katsuyuki Nishijima was born in 1945 in Yamguchi Prefecture. From 1964 to 1968, Katsuyuki Nishijima mastered woodblock printing techniques. From 1965-1970, he exhibited with Kyoto Independents and group shows. In 1972, Mr. Nishijima started to learn the technique called Sosaku-hanga woodblocks. From 1973 to present, his works have been exhibited in many shows.

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Chiura Obata (1885-1975)

Chiura Obata was born in 1885 in Okayama prefecture, Japan. At the age of 14, he went to Tokyo where he studied with Tanryo Murata, Kogyo Terasaki, and Goho Hasimoto. In 1903 he moved to San Francisco. While working as an illustrator for the city's Japanese newspapers The New World and the Japanese American, Obata made on-site sketches of the San Francisco earthquake. He married Haruki Kohashi in 1912, and from 1915 to 1927 worked as an illustrator for Japan Magazine. He spent much of the 20's painting landscapes throughout California and helped establish the East West Art Society in San Francisco in 1921. He spent the summer of 1927 on a sketching tour of Yosemite and the Sierra High Country producing over 100 new paintings. In 1928 Obata returned to Japan, following his father's death. While there, he supervised the production of 35 colored woodblock prints of California landscapes for his World Landscape Series. They were exhibited at the "Eighty-Seventh Annual Exhibition" at Ueno Park, Tokyo; Lake Basin in the High Sierra won first prize. In 1932 Obata was appointed as an instructor in the Art Department at the University of California, Berkeley. Between 1930 and 1941, One-man exhibitions were held in numerous locations. In April 1942, Obata was interned at the Tanforan Detention Center where, during his stay, he organized an art school with over 650 camp residents as students. In September 1942, he was moved to the Topez Relocation Center, Topez, Utah. Released from Topaz in 1943, he moved with his family to St Louis, finding employment with a commercial art company. In 1945, when the military exclusion ban was lifted, Obata was reinstated as an instructor at U.C. Berkeley. He was promoted to Associate Professor of Art in 1948. One-man shows continued, as did his sketching and painting trips in the high country, often with the Sierra Club. In 1954 he became a naturalized citizen and retired as Professor Emeritus from U.C. Berkeley. From 1955 to 1970 he traveled throughout California giving lectures and demonstrations on Japanese brush painting. In 1965 he received the Order of the Sacred Treasure, 5th Class, Emperor's Award, for promoting good will and cultural understanding between the United States and Japan. He died in 1975, aged 90. Posthumous exhibitions of Chiura Obata works have been organized at the Oakland Museum, The Smithsonian Institution and most recently at the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco, in 2000.

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Kazuyuki Ohtsu (b. 1935)

Kazuyuki Ohtsu was born in 1935 in Gunma prefecture in Japan. In 1954, he left for Tokyo to learn traditional woodblock print techniques. In 1958, Kazuyuki Ohtsu became an assistant for Kiyoshi Saito until Kiyoshi Saito passed away in 1997. With over 40 years of experience in woodblock printmaking, Kazuyuki Ohtsu’s works have been exhibited in many important shows and admired by numerous collectors.

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Kiyoshi Saito (1907-1997)

Kiyoshi Saito was born in Fukushima prefecture in 1907. He started his career painting signs for store fronts in Japan. In 1932, he sold the successful business and moved to Tokyo. Once in Tokyo, he studied Western-style paintings at the Hongo Painting Institute. Mr. Saito’s first love was oil painting, but he later became interested in the technique of woodblock prints. By the end of the 1930’s, he produced the "Winter in Aizu Series"; an area where he lived as a youth. In the 1940’s, Kiyoshi Saito met Onchi and began to work primarily in woodblock printmaking. He would become a member of the Nihon Hanga Kyokai (Japanese Woodblock Association) and from there sold his first prints at the exhibition. In 1951, Kiyoshi Saito received first prize for the work, “Steady Gaze” at the inaugural Sao Paolo Biennial. He was invited to the United States in 1956 by the auspices of the State Department and the Asia Foundation. In 1967, he had the honor of making a woodblock print of Prime Minister Eisaku Sato for the cover of Time Magazine. His prints feature figurative subjects, scenes in Kyoto, and animal impressions. Kiyoshi Saito's works are in the collection of The Cincinnati Art Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts, New York Public Library, Art Institute of Chicago, Fukushima Prefecture Museum of Art, and the Kanagawa Prefecture Museum, as well as numerous important private collections.

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Tetsuro Sawada (1935-1999)

Born in Hokkaido, Tetsuro Sawada graduated from Musashimo Art University where he majored in Western painting. In 1960 he began painting abstract oils and in 1973 began producing lithographs and then silkscreen prints. In 1966-67 he traveled in North and South America, and in 1969 studied and France and Spain. In 1980 he won a prize at the Norway International Print Biennial. His works were included in exhibitions in Tokyo, Seattle and San Francisco. Often referred to as "the skyscape artist", Sawada has achieved the technique of "bokashi" (shading) which is most difficult in the the silkscreen medium. Sawada inked and self-printed all of his own prints and accomplished a striking juxtaposition of matte and shiny colors; a clean, stylistic precision - stark, yet beautiful. His works are in numerous collections, including the British Museum, Cleveland Museum, Cincinnati Art Museum and the Honolulu Academy of Art.

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Toko Shinoda (b. 1913)

Toko Shinoda was born in Manchuria in 1913, moving to Tokyo in 1914. Schooled in traditional calligraphy, she had her first exhibition in Tokyo in 1940. Her abstract work began in 1947, and by the 1950's, her works had been exhibited at the MOMA and other museums and galleries in New York, Boston, Paris, Washington, and Brussels. She began producing lithographs in 1960. Worldwide exhibits continued. Time Magazine published an article about Shinoda on August 1, 1983. Toko Shinoda's works reside in numerous permanent collections, including the Rockefeller, Guggenheim and MOMA. Castle Fine Arts has mounted one-woman shows for Shinoda in 1994, 1995, 1996, and an 84th Birthday Exhibition in 1997.

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Shinsui Ito (1898-1972)

Shinsui Ito was born Ito Hajime in Tokyo. At age 10, he was forced to seek work due to an impoverished family. He was hired by the Tokyo Printing Company and earned an apprenticeship at age 14. He studied with Kaburagi Kiyokata and attended night school at the same time. Kiyokata gave him his own artist's name, "Shinsui". In 1916 Watanabe Shozaburo discovered his talent, and they collaborated on prints for the next 25 years. Watanabe exported hundreds of Shinsui prints, generating great success for them both. Shinsui's early landscape series, Eight Views of Lake Biwa inspired Kawase Hasui. His early bijin-ga are generally considered his finest works. In 1952 his woodblock designing skill was designated an Intangible Cultural Property. In 1958 he was appointed to the Japan Art Academy and in 1970 was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun.

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Ohara Shoson (Koson, Hoson) 1877-1945

Ohara Shoson (Koson, Hoson) was a Japanese-style painter and printmaker. He began as a student of Suzuki Koson. He painted flora and fauna between 1895-1902, becoming recognized as a "Nihonga" painter in the 'Kacho-ga' (nature print) genre. During the Russo-Japanese war he produced a few 'Senso-e' (war prints). The majority of his early prints (1900 -1912) were published by Kokkeido and Daikokuya and were designed for the foreign market. All were signed "Koson". Between 1912-1926 he again devoted himself to painting. Using the name 'Shoson', he returned to the woodblock medium, collaborating with Watanabe. Shoson did produce some prints using the name "Hoson' which were published by Kawaguchi between 1930-1931, but the majority of his prints were published by Watanabe. While the artists' prints had always been sold abroad, his success in the West was assured as a result of the 1930 and 1936 Toledo Museum exhibitions. More prints by Shoson were sold during these shows than any other artists' due to their artistic/decorative nature, and the fact that they sold for one-quarter the price of the works of Yoshida and others.

Shoson reached his peak in the mid 1930's. His work is realistic, based mainly on his own sketches and watercolors. It is estimated that he produced more than 450 designs of birds. Ohara Shoson Collections: Cincinnati, Fine Arts Museum California, Honolulu, Minneapolis, Newark, and Staatliche University.

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Takahashi Hiroaki Shotei

Takahashi Hiroaki Shotei was born in Asakusa, Tokyo in 1871. When he was nine years old he began studying Japanese-style painting with his uncle Matsumoto Fuko (1840-1923). By age 16 he was working at the Imperial Household Department of Foreign Affairs, copying designs of foreign medals and ceremonial objects. In 1891, together with Terazaki Kogyo, he founded the Japan Youth Painting Society. Later he submitted paintings to exhibitions and also worked as an illustrator of scientific textbooks, magazines, and newspapers. In 1907 he became the first artist recruited by Watanabe Shozaburo and at that time began to use the artist's name "Shotei". In 1921 he began to also use the name "Hiroaki". By the time of the Kanto earthquake in 1923, Shotei had produced some 500 prints for Watanabe. The entire Watanabe publishing operation was destroyed in the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake and subsequent fire. Post-1923, Shotei produced another 250 prints for Watanabe, as well as some fine larger prints for the publisher Fusui Gabo. In addition, Shotei also produced nearly 200 designs which were published by Shobido Tanaka. Takahashi Hiroaki works were mainly exported to the West, where they were avidly sought by European and American collectors as representive views of "Old Japan"

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Ryohei Tanaka (b. 1933)

Ryohei Tanaka was born in Osaka Prefecture in Japan. He studied etching with Professor Furuno Yoshio and started exhibiting with JPA. He has won a number of awards in Japan, Yugoslavia, and The United States. Ryohei Tanaka has become Japan’s foremost etcher and is famous for his fine details and subtle aquatinting. Ryohei Tanaka depicts thatched-roof farmhouses, threadlike tree branches, numerous rural Kyoto scenes, and Japanese countrysides. In 1979, he traveled exhibiting modern Japanese prints in Peking and Shanghai and has had numerous solo shows worldwide.

Ryohei Tanaka works are in the collection of The Fogg Museum, Harvard University, Archenback Foundation for the Graphic Arts in San Francisco, Cincinnati Art Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Cleveland Museum, Singapore National Museum, International Graphic Art Society in New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Honolulu Academy of Art, Museum of Japanese Culture, Portland Museum of Art, David Rockefeller Collection and numerous private collections worldwide.

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Kotondo Torii (1900-1976)

Born Saito Akira in Tokyo, at the age of 15, Kotondo Torii became the adopted son of Kiyotada Torii. Kiyotada was the seventh generation head of the well known Torii family of print designers, and Kotondo assisted him with the production of Kabuki posters, billboards. He studied the techniques of Yamato-e painting and contributed woodcuts and illustrations for Entertainment Illustrated magazine (Engei Gako). In 1917, Kotondo entered the studio of Kaburagi Kiyokata where he met Shinsui and Hasui. During the next few years he developed his style of bijin-ga. Kotondo designed most of his moku-hanga in 1927-1933, which were published by Sakai and Kawaguchi, Ikeda and two by Kawaguchi alone. All of his 21 bijin-ga are signed "Kotondo".

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Toyokuni I (1769-1825)

A Ukiyo-e printer and printmaker, Toyokuni lived and worked in Edo. He was a pupil of Utagawa Toyoharu and was influenced by almost every contemporary well-known artist, including Sharcha, Kiyonaga, and Utamaro. The most popular artist of the Utagawa school, Toyokuni's works ranged from landscapes to Kabuki actors and bijin-e (beauties). At his best, he was a brilliant draftsman and designer.

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Toyokuni III (Kunisada) (1786-1864)

Ukiyo-e painter and printmaker born in Katsushika in Musashi, Toyokuni III (Kunisada) lived in Edo (Tokyo). At 15, he became a pupil of Toyokuni (I) and took the artists’ name Kunisada. In 1807 he produced his first book illustrations and in 1808 began to make actor prints. His early works feature bijin-ga, courtesans and even erotica, but due to the government censorship edits of 1842, he decided to assume the name of his teacher, calling himself Toyokuni III in 1844. Although he nominally retired in 1847, he continued to work, producing a large number of prints, maintaining an even larger studio than before. On the occasion of his 70th birthday, an exhibition in his honor was held in Ryogoku. He died nearly 10 years later at his home in Yanagishima, on January 12, 1865.

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Sadao Watanabe (1913-1996)

Sadao Watanabe was born in 1913. He is one of Japan’s most successful artists from the latter 20th century. Sadao Watanabe became ill with tuberculosis and found hope through reading the Bible. By 1930, Sadao Watanabe was baptized and decided to make a commitment to tell the Christian story through his artwork. After he had recovered from severe tuberculosis, he still continued to spread the story of the Bible in his work. He did so by specializing in the art of "Katazome", the technique of traditional stencil drying used for the Kimono. Mr. Watanabe studied under Soetsu Yanagi (1891 – 1961) who was then a leading member of the Japanese folk art movement. He also learned the traditional technique of Japanese stencil printing, called Kappazuri from Serizawa Keisuke. In 1947, he won the top prize from the Japan Folk Art Museum and then the Kokugokai Prize in 1948. Mr. Watanabe also held a one-man show at the Portland Art Museum in 1962 and displayed his work at The Modern Print Show at the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan. In 1976, he was invited to the United States by the Lutheran Church, and by 1977 had a one-man show held at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. In 1981, he received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Linfield College, Oregon. His works are in the collection of: Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts in San Francisco, Art Institute of Chicago, Boston Art Museum, British Museum, Carnegie Museum, Cincinnati Museum of Art, Honolulu Academy of Arts, Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the National Museum of Art in Tokyo, as well as numerous important private collections.

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Hiroshi Yoshida (1886-1950)

Hiroshi Yoshida was born in Kurume, and studied western style painting in both oil and watercolor media at the beginning. In 1920, He became interested in printmaking and published his own woodblock prints. Hiroshi Yoshida is known to create for several series that explored the same title but at different times of day. The Sailing Boats series are one of the typical examples. Hiroshi Yoshida used the same blocks, but with different color inks to create an evening, morning, or afternoon version of a scene. He loved to travel, and he designed numerous scenes in Europe, America, Egypt, and South Asia.

Hiroshi Yoshida is known as a Western style painter and printmaker, and many of his prints were often titled in English. He received numerous prizes in Japan and in the world, and his prints were collected by many visiting Westerners. In 1930 and 1936, he contributed many prints to important exhibitions at the Toledo Museum of Art.

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Toshi Yoshida (1911-1995)

Toshi Yoshida was born in Tokyo in 1911. He was the eldest son of Hiroshi Yoshida. Under his father's influence, Toshi began to learn painting at age 3 and woodblock printing at age 13. From 1925-29 he studied oil painting at Taiheiyo Art School and in 1929 traveled with his father to India and Southeast Asia. In 1936 Toshi journeyed to China and Korea. In 1952-1953 he visited the US and Europe where he exhibited works and lectured about woodblock prints. In 1954 he taught printmaking for a month at the Art Institute of Chicago, and since that time has often traveled to the US, Canada, Mexico, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica for sketching, exhibitions, and lectures. For a few years after the war, he made prints of abstract subjects, but then reverted to prints of scenery and animals. In 1980, Toshi opened the Miasa Cultural Center in Nagano Prefecture where he taught students from many countries, including Carol Jessen and Karyn Young. Toshi Yoshida work are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; British Museum; Paris National Library, Seattle Museum of Art and the Krakow National Museum.

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Parse Time: 1.360 - Number of Queries: 165 - Query Time: 1.2057351538544