Girl Before a Mirror
self-carved and self-printed, sealed in grey cartouche at upper left, Kishio ga to (Kishio painted and carved), and with red seal Koizumi Kishio ga to, and in sealed in English, Kisio Koizumi 1933
14 3/8 by 11 in., 36.6 by 27.8 cm
Kishio Koizumi was the fifth child in a family with six children in Shizuoka, a large city located on Honshu's southern coast. His father, Koizumi Ken'kichi, was a master calligrapher who had served the Tokugawa shogunal family, but after the Meiji Restoration he became a teacher and published a widely-used calligraphy manual. Young Kishio was not a robust child, but he displayed a talent for drawing, and in 1909 or 1910, at the age of sixteen or seventeen, he was sent to Tokyo to study art while living with a brother-in-law who resided at Seinenji, a Buddhist temple. He enrolled at the Western-style art school, the Japan Watercolor Academy (Nihon Suisaiga Kenkyusho) which had been founded in 1907 by the painters Oshita Tojiro (1870-1912), Ishii Hakutei (1882-1958), and Tobari Kogan (1882-1927). Both Hakutei and Kogan would be instrumental in the development of the intertwined woodblock print movements on the horizon: sosaku hanga (creative prints) and shin hanga (new prints). Three years later, Koizumi apprenticed himself to Horikoshi Kan'ichiro, the block-carver who had produced the blocks for Kishio's father's calligraphy manuals. It is unclear how long he worked with Horikoshi, but by 1913 he was already producing his own sosaku-hanga, that is, self-carved and self-printed works. In 1920 he issued his first landscape series of twelve prints, Print Scenes of New Tokyo (Shin Tokyo fukei hanga); and in 1924 he published his own manual, How to Carve and Print Woodblocks (Mokuhan no horikata to surikata). Throughout his career, Koizumi remained very active in carving and printing his own works which were primarily landscapes, as well as that of other artists. He had produced 23 designs for his series Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji (Fuji sanju-rokkei) when he died in 1945 after evacuating from Tokyo during the war.
Helen Merritt & Nanako Yamada, Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: 1900-1975, 1992, p. 74
James T. Ulak, Tokyo: The Imperial Capital, Woodblock Prints by Koizumi Kishio, 1928-1940, pp. 26-27
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays, 11am - 5pm, by appointment.
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
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site last updated
September 19, 2018
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
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