November 09, 2019 09:00 AM EST Asheville, North Carolina


Koshiro Onchi

(Japanese, 1891-1955)

Portrait of the poet Hagiwara Sakutaro, Author of "Ice Island", 1949, edition of approximately 20 to 50, stamped verso and recto upper left, Sekino Jun'chir, printer, stamped verso with artist's and printer's names, color woodblock, 17 x 21-3/8 in.; painted frame, 26 x 21 in.


Koshiro Onchi was the foremost artist associated with the saku-hanga art movement in the early 20th century. Co-founded by Koshiro, it launched the Japanese creative print movement that used western techniques within the traditional Japanese medium of the wood cut.

This rare print was initially produced during World War II in an original edition of two. Three further editions where completed after the war. The first was an edition of seven printed by the artist himself during 1947 through 1949. the last edition was a posthumous edition published by the family and printed by Hirai Koichi in 1955 as the "Memorial Edition". But the second edition, of which this is one, was printed in 1949 under Onchi's supervision by one of his one of students, Sekino Jun'chir. There were approximately twenty to fifty impressions. They are considered to be very close to the master's in both color and depth. Printed as if they were monotypes, seven blocks and fifteen separate stages of printing were employed. It was this process that served to convey the deep emotions of the subject in a way that had never before been attempted.

When the print was reproduced in several important publications and presented as the most important work of the saku-hanga movement, it became one of the rarest and most desirable prints in the Western and European markets. Very few of the second edition have surfaced in the market.

Literature:Noriko Kuwahara, "Onchi's 'Portrait of Hagiwara Sakutaro': Emblem of the Creative Print Movement for American Collectors", 'Impressions', no. 29 (2007-08), pp. 120-139.

See the Art Institute of Chicago for a print from this edition along with the various stage prints printed by Sekino Jun'chir:

Provenance:Private Collection, Asheville, North Carolina


some toning, taped in at five points with masking tape, framing instruction in pencil in bottom margin, printing creases, impression from verso lower right; frame with wear

Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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