Tsuchiya Koitsu is a well-known artist of the Shin Hanga movement, but not among the trendy names like Hasui, Ito Shinsui or Natori Shunsen. Tsuchiya Koitsu specialized in landscape images. His beautiful prints are of excellent quality and a good buy for collectors of Japanese twentieth century prints.
Tsuchiya Koitsu was born in rural Japan with the given name Koichi. He became a student of the ukiyo-e master Kiyochika Kobayashi (1847-1915) after starting an apprenticeship for a woodblock carver who worked for Kiyochika. Soon the ukiyo-e master Kiyochika himself took care of the young Koitsu. Tsuchiya Koitsu stayed and worked for 19 years in the home of his master.
The first print designs by Tsuchiya were war prints depicting scenes of the Sino Japanese war (1894-1895).
From 1931 on, Tsuchiya Koitsu became one of the artists working for the publisher Watanabe in shin hanga style. Koitsu specialized in landscape prints. His style reminds of the works of his master Kobayashi and of the famous shin hanga artists Kawase Hasui and Hiroshi Yoshida. In typical shin hanga style Tsuchiya Koitsu intensively used the effects of light to create moods and emotions in his images.
Other publishers for whom Tsuchiya Koitsu worked, are Doi and Kawaguchi. During the 1930s and 1940s, Koitsu was quite productive in shin hanga landscape designs. His prints have been a bit neglected on the art market, but have gained in appreciation and price during the last years.
Koitsu prints are solid works, beautiful and by no means mediocre. This makes this artist interesting for novice collectors and those who have an open eye for discoveries.
Color slide show with a nice selection of Koitsu Tsuchiya prints accompanied by this nerve-wrecking Japanese music. But most seem to like Japanese music. Not me. Anyway, thanks to Eoxamotl for sharing this with the public.
Helen Merritt and Nanako Yamada, "Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: 1900-1975", published by University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, ISBN 0-8248-1732-X.
Author: Dieter Wanczura