Tobari Kogan, 1882-1927
with red artist's seal at upper right, Kogan, self-carved, self-printed, ca. 1913
19 3/8 by 14 1/8 in., 49.2 by 35.9 cm
Born in the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo, Kogan studied English at a Christian night school where he met the socialist poet, Katayama Sen (1859-1933), who encouraged the young artist to study abroad. Kogan came to New York in 1901 where he studied painting at the famous Art Students' League, located a mere block away from this gallery. In 1906 Kogan was diagnosed with tuberculosis, thus prompting his return to Japan. In 1910 after meeting the sculptor Rokuzan Ogiwara (1879-1910), Kogan began studying sculpting techniques at the institute of Saiko Nihon Bijutsuin. Kogan exhibited his sculpture at the government sponsored Bunten exhibitions (where prints were not exhibited) while supporting himself by working as an illustrator. He created his first self-carved, self-printed work in 1912. In 1913 he helped found the Japan Watercolor Society along with Ishii Hakutei (1882-1958), and he was a founding member of the Nihon Sosaku-Hanga Kyokai (Japan Creative Print Society) which was established in 1918, and held their first exhibition in January of 1919 at the Mitsukoshi Department store. While many artists exhibited etchings and lithographs, it was the intention of the society to support woodblock printmaking in particular. Kogan exhibited twelve works, including an impression of this design, Make-Up (also known as In Front of the Chest of Drawers). In 1922 Kogan published an influential guide to printmaking: Sosaku-Hanga and How to Make Them (Sosaku-hanga to hanga not tsukurikata).
Shizuya Fujikake, Japanese Wood-Block Prints, 1938, p. 131
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Catalogue of Collections: Prints, 1993, p. 174, no. 1645, titled In Front of the Drawers (Tansu no mae)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession number 54.1795, titled Toilette
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Scholten Japanese Art
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