From 17 June to 11 September 2022, Japan Museum SieboldHuis will exhibit the new prints of Japan in ‘Shin hanga’. This exhibition presents an impressive overview of 20th century print art with top pieces from private collections. Shin hanga (new prints) can be seen as the ‘re-discovery’ of traditional print art, but in a new form. Over one hundred and thirty works in this exhibition are characterized by technical perfection and exceptional quality.
Japan has been producing woodblock prints since the 17th century. The visual beauty together with the extraordinarily high quality of these prints is a result of a fruitful partnership between artist, publisher, carver and printer. The shin hanga artists and publishers were mindful of the rich past of Japan’s print art and developed their prints with respect for this tradition.
Charming landscapes, breath taking beauties, modern-day Japanese women, characteristic Kabuki actors and meticulously detailed birds and flowers will be exhibited. This exhibition will feature the works of the most prominent shin hanga artists notably Kawase Hasui, Takahashi Shotei, Torii Kotondo, Hashiguchi Goyō, Itō Shinsui and Ohara Koson.
The ‘new prints’ were clearly inspired by traditional print art both thematically and technically, however very distinct differences can also be detected. Use is made of high quality materials, textures and colour nuances as can been seen in the print: ‘Woman applying make-up’ by Hashiguchi Goyō. The image is expertly printed on thick paper with rich glossy mica pigments.
In the print ‘Silver egret on a snow-covered branch’ by Ohara Koson, great attention is paid to subtle details in which a segment of the feathers is displayed in blind print that becomes visually more pronounced through application of an extra pink print layer. Equally appealing is the work of Kawase Hasui with the characteristic multitude of colour nuances. His Japanese landscapes exude a tranquil and serene atmosphere filled with nostalgia.
The traveling exhibition ‘Shin hanga. New prints from Japan is a collaboration between the museum for East Asian Art in Cologne and the Royal Museum for Art and History (KMKG) in Brussels.
Komura Settai 小村雪岱 (1887–1940) Tattoo. 1938, Private collection
Catalogue and Activities
A richly illustrated catalogue, written by Chris Uhlenbeck, Jim Dwinger and Philo Ouweleen will accompany this exhibition. The catalogue is on sale in the museum shop. In addition, a diverse and varied activities programme will offer closer insight into the world of the new prints.
Torii Kotondo 鳥居言人 (1900–1976) Morning Hair. 1931, Private collection