Saturday, 29 September 2012

Koshiro Onchi

Koshiro Onchi

Japanese printmaker, poet,
 publicist, book designer.
Man of many talents.
Founding father of Sosaku Hanga*

today, as promised in before last posting, I'll try to show an overview of the many talents of this Japanese printmaker with the most relevant text borrowed from Floating World Gallery* (see end of posting). 

Born in Tokyo 1891, graduated in 1909 from the middle school for German studies in Tokyo and after failing examination to enter Daiichi Kotogakko (First High School), studied oil painting at Aoibashi branch of school of Hakubakai.
Onchi entered Tokyo School of Fine Arts in 1910, studying first oil painting and then sculpture. In 1911 he withdrew from the school and obtained a job as a book designer.In 1912 he was readmitted to Tokyo School of Fine Arts. In October 1913 he began planning the print and poetry magazine Tsukubae, created numerous abstract prints and directed publication of 7 issues 1914-1915.

Onchi contributed cover designs, poems, and moku-hanga, in 1917 Onchi published his first collection of prints, Happiness (Kofuku). In 1919 he participated in the first Nihon Sosaku-Hanga Kyokai exhibition and in 1921 began publication of the general art magazine Naizai with Otsuki Kenji and Fujimori Shizuo.
Over the years Onchi was also active in producing and promoting other poetry and print magazines to which he contributed poems, prints, graphic design, and articles promoting the idea that printmaking is a legitimate expressive and creative medium, not merely a means of reproduction.
By 1927 Onchi had established a reputation as a book designer. In 1928, in the wake of Lindbergh’s trans-atlantic flight, was engaged by a newspaper company to go up in a plane and record his impressions of flight. The resulting book: Sensations of Flight (Hiko kanno). 
The coffee house and the dance room 

He personally designed over 1,000 books for publishers creating suitable letters for the cover of each one and published several books of his own poems or prose with illustrations.
"In the theatre".

In 1949 he received the first prize offered in Japan for book design. In the midst of his busy professional career in 1938 he contributed to One Hundred Views of New Japan (Shin Nihon hyakkei).

A major force in the Sosaku-Hanga* movement and the leading abstract print artist of his time in Japan. Sometimes used the signature ONZI on early prints.

*Susaku Hanga, the movement in Japanese printmaking re-introducing "draw it yourself, cut  and print it yourself" away from the collaborative  printmaking of Ukiyo-E or "floating world" printmaking, where professional cutters and printmakers executed the design in a combined effort. The movement started with Kanae Yamamoto's (1887-1946) Fisherman of 1904, shown in the Blog here*.
For a detailed biography read here* and also: Merritt, Helen and Nanako Yamada. Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: 1900-1975. University of Hawaii Press: Honolulu. 1992.

All pictures borrowed freely from the www. for friendly, educational, intellectual  non commercial use.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Eva Roemer: Stormy Seas

Up on Ebay this week this stunning Eva Roemer (1889-1977) Stormy Sea. Great to hang next to Arthur Rigden Read (1879-1955). Seven days to rob a bank or put your money where your mouth is. I've spend this month's budget on a pair of budgies so it's all yours. Added info: this print was sold soon after this posting went on air). 
But for consolation here (added later) are some other great examples of artists who also were impressed and inspired by the stormy seas. 
Uehara Konen (1878-1940)
 Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) 1834
 Hiroshige (1749-1858) 1853

Oscar Droege (1898-1982) very prolific German printmaker did many woodblock prints of the sea, calm and stormy. For every one roaming and combing the beach the mirroring effect of the back wash of the waves in last print is very realistic and skillfully executed. Droege was a keen observer living all his life near the North sea in Hamburg.
Clarence Alphonse Gagnon (Canadian, 1881 - 1942) "Heavy Sea". A neglected and hardly ever seen master piece by this Canadian painter. Besides trhe many paintings I know of only one other print by Gagnon. 

Bror Julius Nordfelt (Am. 1878-1953) who had his finest woodblock printing year in 1906 as we'll see later.
Last but not least: Matthew Brown (American b.1958) New Hampsire printmaker in the Japanese tradition combining, tributing and connecting the classic (foamy waves Hiroshige) and the modern (rocks Droege, gulls Neumann). The wink at Hans Neumann (right) in perticular is very  charming. 
All pictures borrowed freely for friendly, educational, intellectual  non commercial use from the www.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Visit the ZOO

Todays posting is a bridge to an extraordinairy Japanese printmaker I've recently discovered and was unknown to me before, so first: let's visit the ZOO !


These are posters based on woodblock prints by Louise Welsh and Hugh Stevenson. Two unknown printmakers of the 5000 artists employed by president Roosevelts (New Deal) Federal Art Projekt (1935-1943) in 1936. 

These charming and amazingly modern prints are bij Japanese printmakers Koizumi Kishio (1893-1945) and Koshiro Onchi (1891-1955) the printmaker we shall have a closer look on in following posting.

Gerd Arntz (1900-1988) a Dutch graphic artist from German origin mainly famous for the 4000 "Isotyopes" he designed you'll have to visit here*. Many of which are in use and very recognizable to this day. He created some very great prints in his very own and recognisable style too but hardly anyone knows. I promise to get back to him.

Samuel Jesserun de Mesquita (1868-murdered in Auschwitz 1944) the Jewish artist I showed before and will have his own posting soon. Most of his wonderful prints were made in Amsterdam ZOO: ARTIS.

Charles M. Turzak (1899-1986) American from Czech origin (above and right), must have had a reason for lining up perambulators in battle formation in this Zoo print. He went to Europe in 1929 "to meet the Masters" (!) and after returning, besides the many woodcut prints, created some very nice color prints. I presume he started in London because I sense "influences" and use of color of the British schools and am curious to know if he's left any traces in British archives. 

Roaming the internet I found this great ZOO illustration by American artist Erin E. Stead (b.1982). She uses a combination of woodblock print and drawing for her childrens book illustratons. This above design reminding me of the delightfull raunchy Paris pissing dogs by Russian Frenchman Arthur Boris O'Klein (1893-1985).

O'Klein must have been the inspiration to the artist who made this hilarious mural, but now I'm wandering off my path too much.
If you know of more Zoo prints donot hesitate letting me know.

Next: Koshiro Onchi, Japanese printmaker. 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Marg McArdell

Marg McArdell
North Ireland printmaker
Looking out over the ocean
Stumbling over this woodcut print I unconsciously decided it had to be Japanese. The reason: my "déja vu", remembering the beach print by Kanae Yamamoto (1882-1946) I showed in an earlier posting.
Felix Valloton (1865-1925) saw similar possibillities about the outlook but using the clair obscure the opposite way. 

Marg McArdell is participating these months in the exhibition and contest in Falmouth: the third Open International Contemporary Print Competition in South West Cornwall UK, 2012.
the rude rough sea
This above print was the only other example I could find by her. In both prints she shows a remarkable abililty to create great panoramic depth and atmosphere with a minimal means. In the footsteps (or on the shoulders) of German expressionist printmakers like Wilhelm Laage (1868-1930), and

Emil Nolde (1867-1956) who also were able to created more with less.