Kawanishi Hide 川西英 (1894-1965)
I have never had a teacher of painting. I am absolutely self-educated and have painted what are not paintings. Having walked and found my own path, I am just what you may call a dilettante. I may complain about losing my youth, but there are things that I shall never lose such as innocent mind and thrills, creativity, originality, and a fresh sense of popularity and clarity. To become plain is the last thing I want to be." - the artist, 19651
Photo of the artist c. 1940.
Kobe Port, 1940 from the series Shin Nihon hyakkei
Dance Hall, 1935
Kawanishi’s work is characterized by use of primary colors and the absence of black outlines defining the shapes. In fact, Kawanishi purposely softened the edges of his forms by using a round chisel rather than a knife to carve the contours. He used poster colors, which he never mixed, and treated black as “just another color.”4
“When I was a boy I used to go to a nearby bar for sailors and watch them having a good time. I’ve always liked the free and easy atmosphere of a port.”6
In creating his prints, Kawanishi used solid blocks of katsura or ho, and printed on thick hodomura paper, thoroughly moistened so that the colors seep through to the back.8
Kawanishi was a prolific artist, creating some 1,000 designs during his lifetime and producing and contributing to a number of printed albums and books including the 1949 book Nihon no hana (Flowers of Japan) in which the print Rose, in this collection, originally appeared.
Kawanishi was awarded the Hyogo Prefecture Culture Prize in 1949 and Kobe Shinbun Peace Prize9 in 1962. His work is contained in many major museum collections including those of the the British Museum; Carnegie Museum of Art; Honolulu Academy of Arts; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto.
Sample Seals of the Artist
Prints in Collection
click on thumbnail for print details