April 7, 2017

Block Printmaker Hiratsuka

        Un-ichi Hiratsuka (Japan, 1895-1997, long life!) was one of the leaders of the Japanese sôsaku hanga movement in the early twentieth century, in which artists draw, carve, and print their works themselves, instead of the traditional system in which each of these steps is done by different craftsmen.
        I like a lot of Hiratsuka’s work, but I particularly like the architectural pieces.  We’ll start with a traditional Japanese scene, with traditional Japanese architecture and lots of detail.  I love the geometry of the building contrasted with the freer carving of the natural features.  Then for variety I’ve also got one of Hiratsuka’s American scenes, with an interesting composition.  I absolutely love this one, with its combination of architectural geometry and organic branches, and its hand-carved roughness creating fine details.
        I also couldn’t resist including two little botanical pieces, one early and one later, with very different styles.  The first is very graphic and geometric, with a textured background filling the space.  The second is more delicate and realistic, with plenty of empty white.  Over such a long lifetime, it’s not surprising that Hiratsuka should have worked in a variety of styles.  I really like these both.


        Here are lots of H printmakers to revisit:


[Pictures: Early Summer in Ginkuji, wood block print by Un-ichi Hiratsuka, 1950 (Image from Invaluable);
Georgetown University Clock Tower, wood block print by Hiratsuka, 1967 (Image from Georgetown University Library);
Plum, wood block print by Hiratsuka, 1930 (Image from Wikiart); 
Butterfly and Jointweed, wood block print by Hiratsuka, 1966 (Image from UnichiHiratsuka.com).]

A-Z Challenge, all posts for the letter H

3 comments:

  1. I like his prints too. I like the contrast of the branches in the front and the clock tower in the back.
    Finding Eliza

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  2. I must say I know close to nothing about block printing. I have been looking at your works, and I like most of them.
    And they would be wonderful postcards!

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    Eva - Mail Adventures

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