Saturday, November 12, 2005

Yamamoto and the Sosaku Hanga

Kanae Yamamoto (1882-1946) was a founder of the Japanese art movement, Sosaku Hanga or 'creative prints'. It was "a Japanese woodblock print movement of the 20th century which utilized Western concepts of art; both in the production, in which the artist was more involved in the production of the prints (often undertaking the entire process on their own), and in the subject matter and presentation, which was that of modern art."

Yamamoto went to France to study oil painting for 4 years and in 1917, returned to Japan via the revolutionary upheaval in Russia. He caught the socialist bug and set up utopian art schools back home for children and the proletarian class. These projects chanelled his energies away from his own artistic pursuits however and his most productive years were already behind him. He destroyed most of his print blocks with a hatchet before his death.

Last night I found myself in a website about which I knew nothing and after scanning the artistic contents and doing some searching I finally found out that it was the Kanae Yamamoto Museum in Ueda -- this link takes you directly to his artworks which include sketches, oil paintings and woodblock prints. There's no english but it's easy to follow and they have large jpegs of each image available.
Kanae Yamamoto biography.
Sosaku Hanga art movement.
[That's the first Sosaku Hanga print ever made from 1904 by Yamamoto, at left]


lotusgreen said...

what a cool blog!!! wow. i couldn't find where you'd gotten the top image on this page....

peacay said...

Thanks lotusgreen - that image (one of my favourites out of this whole blog) definitely comes from one of the linked sites - probably the first one.

lotusgreen said...

oh, you know--i couldn't figure out how to navigate that site. maybe i should try it with a translator thingy.

but in the meantime, i can't tell you how many hours of entrancement (is that a word?) you're bringing me.



lotusgreen said...

oh well, it wouldn't translate.

but i'm glad to find it here, and think it's really interesting that it's also a favorite of yours.


lotusgreen said...

okay--one more thing: if you like woodblock prints i'll give you the url of one of my websites....

hope you don't mind.


peacay said...

Lily, I had a very quick look at that site again yesterday. I remember it as being more of a 'mechanical annoyance' versus transational. Meaning: if you persist, which did take me some time from memory, then it becomes easier as you go.

Just to be clear, it's this website:

Click everything in sight and click on the pictures to get larger ones.

Thanks for you kind words too.

lotusgreen said...

okay, i'll try again--thanks


lotusgreen said...

not that hard after all ;^)

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