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Okumura Koichi: Takao (Autumn)

from the series Eight Noted places of Kyoto

Japan, Showa period, c. 1948


Colour woodblock print, chuban, 26.5 x 20 cm, c. 1948, , published by Unsodo, publisher seal lower right margin, very good condition, slight creases to the corners, with original folder 

Okumura Koichi (1904-1974) was a typical Kyoto artist. Born in Kyoto, he studied Japanese style landscape painting with Nishimura Goun. He graduated from a painting school and exhibited paintings in numbers of famous exhibitions. His woodblock prints are often depictions of Kyoto landscapes. The series Twelve Views of Kyoto from 1948 is one of the most famous ones.

Original folder reads in English:

"Takao is very famous as a noted place for maples leaves. it is wonderful to see red maple leaves in sun shine with a rapid running under them. Jingoji of Takao, Saimyoji of Makinoo and Kozanji of Taganoo are well known as temples keeping many precious cultural documents." 

The Shin Hanga ("new prints": 新版画)  movement flourished from around 1915 to 1942, though it resumed briefly from 1946 through the 1950s. It was a romantic look at the past that attempted to recapture the graceful beauty of the old ukiyo-e prints, with subjects such as landscapes and cityscapes, beautiful women, actor portraits and nature prints. While shin hanga does have superficial similarities to ukiyo-e, it has a very distinct nature. Shin hanga prints are now being collected as never before; many prints have reached and surpassed some of their much older ukiyo-e counterparts in popularity and value.

Shin hanga extolled the virtues of the traditional hanmoto system, involving the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. At the center of the shin hanga movement was the publisher Watanabe Shôzaburô (1885-1962), who coined the term in 1915.

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