a r t e l i n o
Auction of Japanese prints ending in 2 days, 9 hours, 21 minutes and 43 seconds.

Item # 53015 - Popular Hanga Vol. 1 - Cover Page - Sold for $50 - 4/26/2012
Portrait of a fashionable 1930's lady. Woodblock print pasted on the cover page of the first edition of print magazine "Taishu Hanga" (Popular Woodblock Prints).
Tomikichiro Tokuriki was famous for his natural, impressionistic art works. They were popular but his real passion was the Sosaku Hanga. He lamented, " Unfortunately They do not sell very well..." He could produce only small number of works in Sosaku Hanga style.
Nowadays, these rather rare works by Tokuriki became more appreciated and quite popular among the print collectors.

The artelino archive offers a database of more than 50,000 sold Japanese prints with detailed descriptions, large images and results. artelino clients with an active purchase history and authorized consignors of artelino have full access to our archive. Read the archive guide and test a trial version.
By Tomikichiro Tokuriki 1902-1999

The traditional Japanese woodblock print was the result of a cooperation of several persons with very different skills - the artist, the block carver, the printer and the publisher. The sosaku hanga ("creative prints") art movement was formally established with the formation of the Japanese Creative Print Society in 1918.

It followed Western ideals in believing that the artist should be involved actively and in person in the printmaking process from the design to the finished product.

The Great Ukiyo-e Crisis

At the beginning of the twentieth century the tradition of Japanese woodblock printmaking was in crisis. Until the end of the nineteenth century Japanese woodblock printmaking was seen as commercial art.

Woodblock printmakers got their commissions from kabuki theaters, restaurant owners and from newspaper and book publishers. The main purpose of traditional printmaking was advertising, decoration and illustration.

With the swift modernization of Japan and especially with the use of photography for newspaper illustrations and advertising, the tradition of ukiyo-e had become an endangered species within a few years.

Shin Hanga versus Sosaku Hanga

From around 1915 on two new art movements in printmaking came out of the ashes - the shin hanga "new prints") and the sosaku hanga movement.

The shin hanga art movement was basically a modernization of the traditional Japanese printmaking - cautiously adding some Western elements like the effect of light and Western perspective. Shin hanga used the same subjects as before - beautiful women, actor portraits and landscapes.

Shin hanga artists tried to transform what used to have been a cheap commercial product for the masses to an expensive product of art for a few collectors and art enthusiasts.

The funny thing was that shin hanga sold well - but not in Japan. The prints were exported mainly to North America. And the Japanese artists undoubtedly targeted the taste of the export market by using pleasing, "typical" Japanese subjects and soft colors.

The Do it Yourself Guys

The sosaku hanga prints were a product of the westernization of Japan which had set in with the Meiji period (1868-1912). Japan had called for Western scientists, scholars and artists. Many taught at Japanese universities. And Japanese students had been sent abroad with state scholarships on official missions to study Western methods - also in the field of arts.

The sosaku hanga movement had adopted the concept of the Western ideal of art as the product of the creativity of a genius - the artist. Creative prints versus artisan prints!

The subjects and looks of sosaku hanga followed modern Western trends in art with a few exceptions like Sekino Junichiro.

Sosaku Hanga Artists

Here are some names of sosaku hanga artists. By the way, the list looks like the answer to the secret of a long life.

Collecting Sosaku Hanga

While shin hanga became quite successful, the sosaku hanga art movement had a hard time to gain public popularity. Every ukiyo-e newbie collector is familiar with the names of shin hanga artists like Hasui Kawase, Hiroshi Yoshida, Toshi Yoshida, Ohara Koson, Natori Shunsen or Ito Shinsui. But few are familiar with sosaku hanga artists. This does not mean that sosaku hanga prints are cheap and easily available. Collecting sosaku hanga prints is a small but fine and often expensive market niche. The reason are the usually small edition sizes of sosaku hanga versus shin hanga.

The situation is best characterized by the artist Tomikichiro Tokuriki. He was a passionate sosaku hanga artist. But he made his living with shin hanga style prints, which he contemptuously called publisher artisan prints. He once said in an interview:

"I'd rather do nothing but creative prints, but after all, I sell maybe ten of them against two hundred for a publisher-artisan print."

From the artelino Archive

Enjoy a few random examples of related art works sold in past auctions of artelino. Our archive offers a database of more than 50,000 sold Japanese prints and about 2,000 contemporary Chinese art prints with detailed descriptions, large images and results in USD. artelino clients with an active purchase history and authorized consignors have full access. Read the ARCHIVE GUIDE and test a trial version.

Item # 74815 - Abstract Work - The Conclusion - Sold for $1,600 - 4/1/2018
An abstract work without a title, but it is known to be "Secchaku Ten" (The Conclusion).
Another (different) impression of this design was illustrated in "Retrospective Exhibition of Gen Yamaguchi, 100th Anniversary of the Artist's Birth; Art in Shizuoka No. 8; Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, 1988, plate no. 122. There is a dramatic difference in the background.
The impression for this lot has an extra color block (or a block used twice) giving a yellow-ochre colored halo effect around the central oval shape and also extending a heavier tone of yellow through much of the background, which is not present in other known impressions.
Gen Yamaguch was one of the very important artists in the early Sosaku Hanga movement. Like his mentor, Koshiro Onchi, he made many experiments in printing techniques using the natural elements.
By Gen Yamaguchi 1896-1976
Item # 74814 - The Way of Heaven - Tendo - Sold for $750 - 5/6/2018
"Tendo" (The Way of Heaven). An abstract work of a wood and two stone shapes against light grey - brown background with swirl patterns.
Gen Yamaguch was one of the very important artists in the early Sosaku Hanga movement. Like his mentor, Koshiro Onchi, he made many experiments in printing techniques using the natural elements.
By Gen Yamaguchi 1896-1976
Item # 74609 - Biiku Sotei Hanga Shu - May - Scenery at the Moat - Sold for $130 - 3/18/2018
From the album series, "Biiku Sotei Hanga Shu" (Aesthetic Education Book Print Collection) published for the Library Education Association.
May . "Horibata Fukei" (Scenery at the Moat).
Unichi Hiratsuka was the master of Sosaku Hanga movement. His prints with stark compositions and rhythmical lines have attracted visitors to many renowned art collections and museums all aver the world, including Tokyo Museum of Modern Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Rockefeller Foundation in New York, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and the Freer Gallery.
He was awarded the Order of Cultural Merit by the Japanese government in 1970. In 1991, the Hiratsuka Unichi Print Museum was opened in Suzaka, Nagano Prefecture.
By Unichi Hiratsuka 1895-1997
Item # 74361 - Hanga Vol. 13 - Bathroom in the Morning - Sold for $700 - 4/1/2018
"Yokushitsu Gozen" (Bathroom in the Morning). From the Sosaku Hanga magazine, "Hanga", Volume 13.
"Hanga" was published during 1924-30 and sold by subscription only to the ensusiasts of Sosaku Hanga.
Onchi commented on the design, "... When a picture needed an explanation, it means there was no common interactions between the picture and the viewers. It is probably not necessary to try to explain the picture since either the picture was not good enough or the viewers were not understanding enough.
The title shows what I drew. The fresh and vivid morning light and a bathroom filled with the light. There must be the naked human figures and the warm water vapors in the room.
I used "asa-bori" (the shallow carving) to express these shape-less, soft forms of the vapors and the lights in the strong and fresh orange color. The hooks naturally tie these objects inside of my mind, although the other people might or might not understand ...".
By Koshiro Onchi 1891-1955
Item # 74319 - Ohara in Autumn - Sold for $440 - 3/25/2018
"Ohara in Autumn". The gold colored rice crops are hanging on the rows of drying racks in the village of Ohara, near Kyoto.
The red square seal of "Shiro Hanga" is stamped on the bottom right corner. >br>"Shi" is embossed next to the edition number.
This is one of the highly regarded Sosaku Hanga style creation by Shiro KASAMATSU. He self-published them without much adverts and the impressions were not many. These imaginative designs have attracted the avid Shin Hanga collectors' attention for quite some time.
By Shiro Kasamatsu 1898-1992
Item # 74260 - Japanese Native Customs - Kobe Port Festival - Sold for $340 - 4/1/2018
From the series, "Japanese Native Customs". The parade of decorated floats at the Kobe Port Festival.
Hide KAWANISHI was famous for the fantasy filled, warm depictions of his hometown Kobe and the exotic circus scenes. He has been considered as one of the driving forces of the Sosaku Hanga movement in the mid 20th century.
By Hide Kawanishi 1894-1965
Item # 73700 - Scenery of Sapporo - 3 Woodblock Post Cards - Sold for $220 - 12/24/2017
Rare post cards done by the famous Sosaku Hanga artists for "Hanga E Hagaki Sapporo" ( Print Picture Post Card Sapporo).
Sapporo is the state capital of Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan.
From top left to the bottom right: The original wrapper. Wintry scene by Masao Maeda. Torii gate by Kihachiro Shimozawa. Gekkan ranch by Senpan Maekawa.
By Senpan Maekawa 1888-1960
Item # 73433 - Calendar Prints by Sosaku Hanga Artists - June, 1942. War Ship and Planes in the Tropic - Sold for $240 - 1/21/2018
From the series "Calendar Prints by Important Sosaku Hanga Artists". June, 1942. "War Moves in the Tropical Sea". War planes are flying over the war ship navigating in the South Pacific.
The calander was published by Japan Print Association.
By Shizuo Fujimori 1891-1943

Video about Sosaku Hanga

On our Video reference page we offer more - lectures about Japanese art prints , music by Johann Sebastian Bach or The Rolling Stones or Bavarian folk music. A wild mixture of videos that we like. The application requires login.

Literature sources

Dieter WanczuraAuthor: Dieter Wanczura