Koshiro Onchi, 1891-1955
K. Onchi impressed at upper left corner; with mica pink background and gofun printed to the right, ca. 1930
aiban tate-e 13 by 9 1/8 in., 33 by 23.1 cm
Onchi Koshiro was one of the most important and influential artists in the early development of the sosaku hanga (creative print) genre. Although he had an academic background in yoga (Western-style painting) which he studied at the Tokyo Academy of Fine Arts, Onchi fully embraced printmaking as a primary means of creative expression. The limitations imposed by carving and printing forced him to concentrate the lines and intensify the expression of his emotions. The fact that prints by their very nature are an art of multiples was secondary to him, merely a by-product of the process of making the image itself. While most printmakers (artists and printers) strive for consistency with multiple impressions in an edition, Onchi was more interested in variations that the blocks would allow. As such, he tended to produce very few impressions of any given design, and often the impressions would differ significantly.
Kato Junzo, comp., Kindai Nihon hanga taikei, 1975-76, Vol. II, pl. 21
Helen Merritt, Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: The Early Years, 1990, pp. 178-199
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