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Tsukioka Kogyo has a firm place in the hall of fame of Japanese woodblock print artists. Even new collectors can recognize a typical Kogyo print easily. His style was distinctive and so were his subjects - Noh plays.
First Publication: July 2002
Latest Update: April 2013
Kogyo was born under the real name of Hanyu Sadanosuke in Tokyo. When the young boy was fifteen years old, his mother married Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, the famous ukiyo printmaker. From his stepfather he received his new family name Tsukioka and his first lessons in Japanese printmaking.
Inspired by his famous stepfather he made his first encounters with Noh Theater. Yoshitoshi was a fan of this old Japanese theatrical form.
Later the young man became the student of another well-known print artist of the Meiji period, Ogata Gekko. Following an old Japanese tradition, he received a new first name from his teacher - Kogyo. The name game was finished and a new artist was born - Kogyo Tsukioka.
There is always something a famous artist is inseparably associated with. For Kogyo it is the Noh Theater. He made quite a few nice natural prints and a few designs of the Russo-Japanese war. But his series of old traditional Japanese Noh theater are the prints that stick with him forever. They were published by Matsuki Heikichi.
The major works of Kogyo are:
Noh theater is the more refined, kind of aristocratic form of theater - in contrast to Kabuki, the popular Japanese theater of the common people. The stage decorations in Noh theater are scarce - reduced to a minimum. The main visual attraction for the spectators are the lavish, colorful costumes.
Kogyo prints are perfect reflections of the typical Noh theater. The compositions show an actor or a group of actors against a plain background - sometimes with one or two requisites. A typical print by the artist looks more like an ink drawing, painting or watercolor than a classical ukiyo print.
The style of Kogyo was influenced by his second master Ogata Gekko, who had begun as a commercial designer, illustrator and painter. The production of a Gekko or Kogyo design required very skillful engravers and printers.
Heaven knows why, but prints by Kogyo are among those that are available for rather low prices. Their look might be too modern for a die-hard ukiyo print fan and not modern enough for collectors of modern Japanese prints. Or it is the subject - Noh theater - that only a small minority of collectors is interested in.
There is nothing wrong with these prints and they are usually in good condition. The prices for art prints are also a matter of fashion trends. If you like them, go against the flow and buy them.
It makes a lot of sense, especially for unexperienced collectors, to buy prints from good artists that are not trendy. Chances to get severely "burned" are close to zero. Just compare prices and condition of the prints. The Internet gives you a good opportunity.
Tsukioka Kōgyo - The Art of Noh, 1869-1927 - by University of Pittsburgh.
"Pictures of Noh, is a spectacular series of Japanese color woodblock prints by the artist Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927). The University of Pittsburgh owns a rare, complete set of this series, published at Tokyo between the Meiji years 30-35, or 1897-1902. Bound in traditional folding-album format, the series comprises five volumes of 261 prints inspired by the plays of classical Japanese noh theatre. The complete set of prints, held by the ULS Special Collections Department, is digitally reproduced here along with a descriptive catalog and contextual essays."
367 sold object(s) by Kogyo Tsukioka 1860-1927 in our Art Archive
1 signature(s) by Kogyo Tsukioka in our Signature Database
Author: Dieter Wanczura
.. more about Dieter Wanczura
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