Asano Takeji 浅野竹二 (1900-1999)
Sources: Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: 1900-1975, Helen Merritt, University of Hawaii Press, 1992, p. 12; Japanese Wood-block Prints, Shizuya Fujikake, Japan Travel Bureau, 1938 revised 1949, p. 190 and as footnoted.
Asano Takeji was one of many cross-over artists who worked in both the shin hanga (new prints) and sōsaku hanga (creative prints) styles. Born in Kyoto in 1900, he graduated from the Kyoto City School of Fine Arts and Crafts in 1919 and the Kyoto Municipal College of Painting in 1923. He first learned Western oil painting and then turned to Japanese-style painting under Tsuchida Bakusen (1887-1936). In 1928, he became interested in woodblock printing through a course offered at Gasendo in Kyoto, by Hiratsuka Un'ichi (1895-1997), one of the founders of the sōsaku hanga movement. He was active in the formation of the Kyoto Sosaku-Hangakai (Kyoto Creative Print Society) in 1929 along with Tokuriki Tomikichirō (1902-2000), Asada Benji (1899-1984), Kawai Unosuke (1889-1968), and others. In 1930, he participated with Tokuriki and Asada in creating the series Creative Prints of Twelve Months in New Kyoto (Sosaku-hanga shin Kyoto junikagetsu) published by Uchida Publishing. In the early 1930s he contributed to the magazine Taishu hanga (Popular Prints), published by Kyoto Sosaku-Hangakai. Also in the early-30s he worked on a self-carved and self-printed set of views of the Kyoto area, two designs of which are represented in this collection. In 1947, he created the self-carved, self-printed series Noted Views in the Kyoto-Osaka Area (Kinki meisho fukei). Starting in the 1950s, Asano designed a large number of shin hanga style prints for the Unsodo Publishing company, which continue to be printed to this day. He was an associate member of Nihon Hanga Kyokai from 1955-1960. He became friends with the American artist Ben Shahn (1898-1969), during Shahn’s visit to Japan in 1964, and continued that friendship until Shahn's death.
Takeji Asano's "Cat on the table" (1978)
BY YUKARI TANAKA
He sometimes signed his landscape prints with the character 刀 (tō) or 刻 (koku), both indicating the works were carved by the artist and often indicated that a work was self-printed with the addition of the character 摺 (suri).
Carnegie Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto
Prints in Collection
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