Maekawa Senpan and Japanese Art: Country Ladies

Maekawa Senpan and Japanese Art: Country Ladies

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Maekawa Senpan (1888-1960) first studied oil painting under the highly acclaimed Asai Chū and other notable instructors at the Kansai Art Academy. However, Maekawa left his mark concerning the sosaku hanga (creative prints) artistic movement.

The British Museum says: “Maekawa was one of the great personalities of twentieth-century Japanese prints, a man of notable independence, and a political radical, yet a staunch traditionalist and supporter of Japanese folk life and customs. In his career history he was rather typical, nevertheless, of his generation in the ‘Sosaku Hanga’ movement, working as a cartoonist and illustrator up to the Pacific War and participating in a succession of societies, exhibitions and coterie magazines…”

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

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.”

The country ladies in these delightful prints fuse naturally with Maekawa’s love of folk culture.

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