Japan Art and Maekawa Senpan: Showa Art

Japan Art and Maekawa Senpan: Showa Art

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Maekawa Senpan (1888-1960) developed artistically from oil painting to finding a lovely artistic niche via the sosaku hanga (creative prints) print movement.

Asai Chū (1856-1907) taught him oil painting. Indeed, his teacher was a pioneer concerning the yōga (Western-style painting) art movement in Japan.

The British Museum says, “He studied at the Kansai Bijutsuin from 1905, at first with Asai Chu (1856-1907), and moved to Tokyo in 1911 where he began his long career as a cartoonist on the magazine ‘Tokyo Puck’. In Tokyo he was inspired by Minami Kunzo (1883-1950) to take up self-carved woodblock printing…”

Maekawa said: “Etching? Wood engraving? Painting? They’re simply not agreeable to me. To me, the wood-print quality is everything. Even calligraphy made with a brush is never wholly satisfying. I like a character only when it has been cut in wood.”

He was born in the cultural city of Kyoto during the Meiji Restoration (1868-1912). Hence, this revolutionary period impacted Maekawa artistically, culturally, and politically.

Above is a delightful greeting card by Maekawa that he sent to Masao Maeda.

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