Masao Maeda was a member of the group of Sosaku Hanga artists and a modest man. He was happy to be a student of Unichi Hiratsuka, but never wanted to surpass him. While Koshiro Onchi was the center of attention of artist meetings, he was content to listen.
Like Umetaro Azechi he liked to go into the mountains. But while Azechi wanted to reach the summit, Maeda stopped half way to make sketches. He used to say:
"The finest panoramas are down in the middle heights."
Take a look at mountain landscape by Masao Maeda. The viewer is indeed in the middle. You look upon the water, but up to the summit.
Maeda Masao was born in the city of Hakodate on the island of Hokkaido. Since he was a little boy, he wanted to become an artist. At age 18 he went to Tokyo to study oil painting at the Kawabata Painting School.
Oil paintings were dominant in the beginning of his artistic career. From 1930 on the artist concentrated on prints. And after 1940 he exhibited only woodblock prints. Maeda Masao admired Koshiro Onchi. But in his own works over the years he returned more and more to traditional Japanese subjects and values.
The artist's finest prints are landscapes. He made a few series, Eight Views of Hokkaido and Famous Gates of Edo.
Author: Dieter Wanczura