Kawakami Sumio 川上澄生, also 川上澄夫, (1895–1972)
Photo of Artist. c. 1970
Photo of Artist. c. 1950
Kawakami was fascinated by the amusing encounters and bizarre misunderstanding that had occurred when the first foreigners arrived in Japan, and this interest is reflected in a great many of his prints. He was a collector of old books – particularly books in English or other foreign languages – and of antique tobacco pipes; and his interest in these also provided him with a rich source of subject matter, as can be seen in the following 1955 print titled Nanbanesque Behavior.
Kawakami’s earliest prints were made from multiple blocks, but in the 1930s he began printing from only a single block – the black key block – and adding color by hand later in a method entirely unique to him. Though Kawakami was little known personally by other sosaku hanga artists, his work was definitely appreciated by them. Onchi Koshiro (1891-1955) considered Kawakami “an incomparable artist” and said that there were very few artists that he would “put in the same class with him.”
The Kawakami Sumio Art Museum
The Kanuma Municipal Art Museum of Kawakami Sumio , located in central Kanuma of Tochigi Prefecture, is dedicated solely to his works.
Retrospective Exhibition - Tochigi Prefectural Art Museum
This exhibition is part of Artlink Tochigi 2007 (a movement to share the works of the Tochigi Prefectural Art Museum Collection with other museums), and in addition to the woodblock prints that are the main body of his activity, we also introduce his oil paintings, sketches, personal books, glass art, and other items-100 various works spanning a variety of genres, presented in two parts. By tracing the world that Kawakami Sumio could not help but long for, we can get a feel for one part of his creative work.
Examples of Seals used by the Artist
Prints in Collection
click on thumbnail for print details