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Mori Yoshitoshi: Combing hair

Japan, Showa period, c. 1978


A unique drawing and collage, black ink on thin Japan paper (washi), 49 x 36 cm, unsigned and undated, probably an éprouve d'artiste. Rare. Good condition, but fragile.


This piece is most likely an artist's proof of the stencil print on paper of the same motif from 1978 of 50 editions. Mori used the motif of a woman combing her hair in several prints from 1978, depicting different women in various colours, but all holding a comb and tilting their head slightly. 


Mori Yoshitoshi (森 義利, October 31, 1898 – May 29, 1992) was a Japanese artist who specialized in kappazuri stencil prints. He became interested in stencils through his work as a textile designer using stencil dyeing techniques. His textile work brought him in touch with the Mingei ('folk crafts') movement, of which  he was for many years a member and close with its founder Yanagi Sōetsu. It was not until the 1950s that Yoshitoshi began creating works on paper, quickly becoming known as one of the key artists of the sosaku hanga movement. He was criticized by Yanagi Sōetsu in a major debate in 1962, who accused Yoshitoshi of abandoning the Mingei movement, after which he distanced himself from the movement even more so, and began to focus more exclusively on kappazuri stencil prints.

    Yoshitoshi exhibited his works in numerous one-man shows in Japan in the 1960s, and took part in thirty international exhibitions between 1957 and 1977. He died on May 29, 1992, immediately following the end of what would be his final one-man gallery show, held at the Wako Gallery Tokyo.


Works by Mori can be found at the Art Institute of Chicago, LACMA and The British Museum, London, among others.







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