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Kawano Kaoru: Girl praying

Japan, Showa period, 1950s


Colour woodblock print, ink and colour on paper, 43.5 x 29cm, undated, 1950s, with artist's seal. Good colours, very good condition.

Kawano Kaoru (1916-1965) was born in Hokkaido and studied at the Kawabata Art School beginning in 1934. He had his first prints accepted by the Japan Print Association in 1944. By the 1950s he began to exhibit more frequently in shows around the world. None of his prints, not even his (apparently early) limited edition prints, are dated. Kawano made effective use of woodgrain patterns. This use of plywood surface textures was characteristic of the works of many sosaku hanga artists.

Sosaku hanga (“creative prints”) was an art movement in early 20th-century Japan, formally established with the formation of the Japanese Creative Print Society  in 1918. The subjects and looks of sosaku hanga followed modern Western trends in art with a few exceptions. The 1951 Sao Paolo Art Biennial witnessed the success of the creative print movement, which was also Japan’s first postwar submission to an international exhibition


Collecting sosaku hanga prints is a small but fine and often expensive market niche. The reason are the usually small edition sizes of sosaku hanga versus shin hanga.

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