|Japanese Prints||Sign In | Register | Contact us | New User?|
Tomoo Inagaki is an important Sosaku Hanga artist. After World War II he found an nice little market niche. He specialized in cat prints in modern design.
First Publication: July 2002
Latest Update: April 2013
Tomoo Inagaki was born in Tokyo where he attended a commercial highschool. At highschool and later as an employee of a steel company he dabbled as a self-taught artist in oil painting and in print making.
Koshiro Onchi had published a magazine about poetry and prints, called Poems and Hanga. The young Tomoo was impressed by the modern prints published in this magazine - many by Koshiro Onchi and Unichi Hiratsuka. It gave him the last kick to make a decision for an artist career. He quit his job at the steel company and attended a commercial art class for two years.
As a graduate of a commercial highschool, Inagaki had a natural sense for the financial aspects of life. He decided to go into commercial arts instead of becoming a fine but starving artist. He soon established his own commercial art studio in Tokyo.
Inagaki could make a living with his commercial design studio. This enabled him to continue to work as a print maker. But World War II put an end to his design studio.
After the end of the Pacific war the contemporary Japanese artists suddenly had a chance to make a living from selling their art. A new market had risen out of the ashes. The American soldiers of the occupation force had not only their pockets full of dollars, but also a good sense for fine Asian art.
Some of them became intrigued by Japanese art and developed into avid art and print collectors. Others simply needed a few nice presents for their loved ones at home.
Inagaki was one of the contemporary artists who became popular in the 50s. He was invited to the International print biennales in Paris, Tokyo and Lugano.
By now the artist had found a style of his own and a subject that became his brand recognition - cats. Inagaki displayed them in modern, simplified forms. You could call it typical for the 50s and 60s - kind of close to semi-abstraction. His designs reduced a natural subject to its essentials.
The results are astonishing. His cats, although transformed into very basic forms, are very alive and individual. Typical Inagaki prints show smart cats, sleepy cats, fighting cats, cunning cats or humorous cats. And someone with a little bit of own experience with cats, will immediately recognize the great mastership in the poignant depiction of the typical behavior, gesture and nature of these little felines.
It is hardly necessary to mention that the artist was a cat lover and had cats of his own.
Inagaki prints are usually kept in brown and gray colors, sometimes brushed up with a bit of orange or red. Oliver Statler, who interviewed the artist in the 50s, reports that Inagaki made his designs in a rather spontaneous way from a basic draft.
81 sold object(s) by Tomoo Inagaki 1902-1980 in our Art Archive
2 signature(s) by Tomoo Inagaki in our Signature Database
Author: Dieter Wanczura
The images on this web site are the property of the artist(s) and or the artelino GmbH and/or a third company or institution. Reproduction, public display and any commercial use of these images, in whole or in part, require the expressed written consent of the artist(s) and/or the artelino GmbH.