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Scholten Japanese Art to present exhibition of 20th century Japanese prints and paintings
Oda Kazuma (1881-1956), The Great Bridge in Matsue, ca. 1924, woodblock print, 10 1/8 by 15 1/4 in., 25.8 by 38.7 cm.

NEW YORK, NY.- Scholten Japanese Art mark their 15th year in New York with a special presentation, 2015: 20th Century Japanese Prints & Paintings, the 15th Anniversary Exhibition.

The exhibition will focus on one of Scholten's primary interests: exploring the intertwining development of Japanese woodblock prints from the early to mid-20th century by artists who designed shin-hanga (lit. new prints) and sosaku-hanga (lit. creative prints). This theme is particularly fortuitous this year, which is also considered to be the 100th anniversary of the birth of shin hanga.

In 2010 Scholten celebrated our ten year anniversary with a presentation of 20th-century prints and paintings which proved to be one of their most successful exhibitions. The 2015 show will revisit and expand on that theme with a selection of new works by a greater variety of artists and formats. Most of the artists represented in the 2010 exhibition will make a reappearance, including popular masters of bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women) such as Hashiguchi Goyo (1880-1921), Kitano Tsunetomi (1880-1947), Kobayakawa Kiyoshi (1896-1948), Ito Shinsui (1898-1972), and Torii Kotondo (1900-1976); and landscape artists including Takahashi Hiroaki (Shotei, 1871-1945), Yoshida Hiroshi (1876-1950), and Kawase Hasui (1883-1957). The 2015 exhibition will further explore the development of shin hanga by including early works of influential artists such as Yamakawa Shuho (1898-1944); mysterious artists such as Narita Morikane, Nakayama Shuko, and Kondo Shiun (all dates unknown), and kabuki subjects by Natori Shunsen (1886-1960) and Shin'ei (dates unknown).

Scholten will also exhibit select examples of prints by Western artists who played a role in the development of these genres, including Bertha Lum (American, 1869-1954), who was out in the forefront of sosaku hanga by carving and printing her own works, Helen Hyde (American, 1868-1919), who set up her own studio with carvers and printers, and Fritz Capelari (Austrian, 1884-1950), the artist who is largely credited with the advent of shin hanga through his collaboration with the publisher Watanabe Shozaburo (1885-1962) in 1915.

Amongst many highlights is a rarely seen and pristine impression of Goyo's early print, Woman Holding a Tray (Kami sukeru onna) from 1920. The half-length portrait depicts a seated waitress, conservatively dressed in a grey kimono fastened with an obi decorated with a red and blue geometric pattern. The background was printed in dark grey and embellished with mica, unique to Goyo's other mica prints that employ a much lighter shade of silver mica, most without any printed color. The dark, shimmering effect suggests an evening setting and appears to be a deliberate reference to the dark mica-embellished portraits of actors and beauties that enjoyed a brief but significant vogue with ukiyo-e masters in the 1790s.

The sosaku hanga movement will be represented through works by Tobari Kogan (1882-1927), Oda Kazuma (1881-1956), Onchi Koshiro (1891-1955), Kishio Koizumi (1893-1945), and Sekino Jun'ichiro (1914-1988), among others. One of the earliest prints included in the exhibition is Kogan's extremely scarce self-carved, self-printed work, Make Up (Kesho), depicting a seated nude adjusting her hair with her kimono open to her hips. The intimate portrait from 1913 is softly printed in a manner that emphasizes the textures of the woodblock printing process and utilizes the marks made by the baren (the pad used to work the pigment into the paper) as a decorative motif. The print itself was produced in an unusually large format (19 3/8 by 14 1/8 in.; 49.2 by 35.9 cm), a feat which belies the technical difficulties in producing woodblock prints compounded by increasing the paper size.

The exhibition will feature approximately 60 woodblock prints and 2 paintings. It will open on Thursday, September 10th, and continue through Friday, September 18th. An online exhibition will be posted in advance of the opening at Scholten Japanese Art, located at 145 West 58th Street, Suite 6D, is open Monday through Friday, and some Saturdays, 11am - 5pm, by appointment. To schedule an appointment please call (212) 585-0474.

For the duration of the first segment of the exhibition, September 10 – 18, the gallery will have general open hours (no appointment needed), 11 am to 5 pm; and thereafter by appointment through October 30th.

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