by Gihachiro Okuyama (1907 - 1981)
Sosaku Hanga - The sosaku hanga or creative print movement in Japan began in the early part of the twentieth century. Unlike the traditional collaborative woodblock printing process utilizing a separate artist, carver, and printer along with a publisher, the sosaku hanga movement emphasized artist involvement in designing, carving, and printing the blocks himself, as the sole creator of his work. The movement gained popularity following World War II, earning international acclaim and expanding subject matter to include abstraction. Today most contemporary Japanese print artists design, carve, and print their woodblocks themselves, continuing the vibrant creative tradition established with ukiyo-e. Sosaku hanga prints encompass a wide range of subjects and expressive artistic styles, and are a great choice for a collector interested in modern and contemporary prints.
Gihachiro Okuyama - A prolific artist, Gihachiro Okuyama was active in both the shin-hanga and sosaku hanga traditions starting in the late 1920s. While he was studying traditional Japanese printmaking, he earned a living creating woodblock prints for advertising, including posters and labels. In 1946, he established the short-lived publishing firm Nihon Hanga Kenkushiyo (Japan Print Institute) to promote woodblocks after WWII. Specializing in reprints of famous ukiyo-e designs, the company dissolved in 1948. In 1954, he opened his own printing studio, called Okuyama Hanga Kobo, to design, carve, and publish his own works. His sosaku hanga prints have a more abstract quality than his idealized shin-hanga scenes, experimenting with values and gradations of color, including a group of monochromatic works in black and white. His landscape subjects range from sweeping vistas to more intimate village scenes and the bustling life of the city. A very versatile and creative artist, Okuyama's striking scenic prints are a wonderful choice for a modern collector.
Comments - Intriguing woodblock print by Gihachiro Okuyama from a small series he did after works by famous 19th century French artists. This handsome portrait of a beauty combing her hair is based on an 1896 lithograph by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who was known for depicting the Bohemian world Montmartre in Paris. The seated woman tilts her head, grasping some of her hair with one hand as she combs the side of her head. She wears a corset and a full petticoat as she completes her toilette, a basin and towel resting on a stand at left. The background is done in faint lines and tones to suggest a domestic surrounding while still focusing attention on the subject. A fascinating interpretation of another artist's work, very skillfully carved and rendered to recreate the mood of the original print. A rarely seen design.
Signed - Gihachiro Okuyama in pencil and dated 1960 in bottom margin
Sealed - Impressed seal "Wood Cut Print. Gihachiro Okuyama. Japan." within image at lower right
Artist - Gihachiro Okuyama (1907 - 1981)
Image Size - 13 1/4" x 9 1/2" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. A few small spots and light creases. Please see photos for details. Good overall.
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