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Sosaku Hanga: The Creative Prints of Japan

March 19, 2008 - March 19, 2008

This modern Japanese print movement began in the first decade of the 20th century when a group of Tokyo artists started exploring the artistic possibilities of printmaking. Working within their Japanese heritage, but influenced by their admiration of Western art, these artists produced graphics which were the first modern Japanese art to be truly international, while retaining the marks of their Japanese origins.

The name sosaku hanga (literally, creative prints) distinguished the work of modern printmakers from traditional ukiyo-e prints, which had long been appreciated in the West, while often held in disrepute by Japanese critics and artists as the vulgar art of vulgar people. Sosaku hanga artists of the 20th century intended their work to be hung on walls and appreciated in the same way as paintings. Whereas ukiyo-e relied on one artisan to carve blocks from the artist’s sketch and others to pull prints, sosaku hanga printmakers zealously insisted that each print be entirely created by its designer.

This exhibition will include works by many of the most famous sosaku hanga artists like Umetaro Azechi, Kiyoshi Saito, Hideo Kawahara, Tomio Kinoshita, Naoko Matsubara, Shiko Munakata, Juniciro Sekino and Tadashi Nakayama.

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