20 March 2013

Sosaku Hanga - Part 1

Back in 2005 when I first started making Japanese style woodblock prints, I took a trip to Japan and while I was there I saw an exhibition called “The Warmth of Woodblock Prints” which featured prints from the sosaku hanga (creative prints) movement of mid-20th century Japan. There were over 150 gorgeous prints and I spent hours there.

A few months later, Australian woodblock artist Tom Kristensen told me about a book called Modern Japanese Prints: An Art Reborn by Oliver Statler which charts the history of the sosaku hanga movement. The book, which is now out of print, was written in 1959, a time when the movement was still developing and when it had few advocates even in Japan, and it is notable for the intimacy of the interviews that Statler conducted with over 25 sosaku hanga artists, often in their studios and homes. I immediately bought a copy and read it cover to cover.

My recent visit to Smith College’s “Collecting the Art of Asia” exhibition where I saw a number of sosaku hanga works reminded me of Statler's book, so I picked it back up again this week and have started reading it for a second time. What I find these 8 years later is that the book has much more meaning to me now that I have more experience with the techniques of Japanese woodblock printmaking. So I plan to do a series of blog posts about some of these artists as I go through the book again. In the next post I’ll begin with Kanae Yamamoto who is often called the founder of sosaku hanga.


dinahmow said...

This sounds very interesting. I 'm looking forward to it. In the post about collecting art of Asia I was very taken with some of the modern work.

Amanda said...

This sounds great! I'm really excited to see some more of this style of work - just the book cover is gorgeous.