Ito Shinsui


Fine Weather in Autumn

signed and dated Showa gonen aki Shinsui ga (Showa 5 [1930], autumn, by Shinsui) with artist's seal Shinsui, publisher's seal Watanabe at lower left, with limited edition seal on verso, Nihyakugojû mai zeppan, dai nijû-roku ban (250 limited edition, number 26), followed by publisher’s rectangular seal, Watanabe, 1930

obaiban tate-e 20 1/8 by 13 1/4 in., 51 by 33.5 cm

Although Shinsui produced almost 150 woodblock prints in his lifetime, many were exported, thus his primary fame within Japan was as a painter. He exhibited frequently with organizations such as Kyodokai (Homeland Society), Nihon Bijutsuin (Japan Fine Art Institute) and Bunten. Together with Yamakawa Shuho (1898-1944), he founded the Seikinkai (Blue Collar Society). By 1931 he had over 100 students in his school, Rohogajuku (Clear Peak Painting Academy). Increasingly, by the late 1920s and into the 1930s, Shinsui print no longer produced in the old way, beginning with a hanshita (preparatory drawings), but based on finished paintings which Watanabe's master carvers and printers adapted to gorgeous images of beauty representing the pinnacle of shin-hanga.

However, this hands-off approach, without creative collaboration and Shinsui's direct involvement in the printing process may have led to his apparent disillusionment with the movement. Despite of their success (or because of it), Shinsui was critical of some shin-hanga artists, himself included. In an article titled It's no Longer the Past (Kako ni arazu) published in the December 1933 issue of Ukiyo-e Geijutsu (Ukiyo-e Art), he dismissed shin-hanga as overly commercialized, adhering too closely to ukiyo-e ideals and falling short of the creative expression evident in self-carved, self-printed sosaku-hanga. The artist who arguably was the most important in the germination and evolution of shin-hanga was doubtful of its merit. Even so, he circled back to comment on his own role as a printmaker: "I hope to create artistic prints...grounded on the subjectivity and retaining the unique contents that are only possible to achieve in woodblock prints." (Excerpted in Seven Masters, p. 102)

Kato Junzo, comp., Kindai Nihon hanga taikei, 1975-76, Vol. III, pl. 91
Tadasu Watanabe, Ito Shinsui: All the Woodblock Prints, 1992, p. 77, no. 49
Amy Reigle Stephens, gen. ed., The New Wave: 20th Century Japanese Prints from the Robert O. Muller Collection, 1993, pp. 35-37 (on print production)
Amy Reigle Newland, and Hamanaka Shinji, The Female Image: 20th Century Prints of Japanese Beauties, 2000, p. 68, no. 66
Chiaki Ajioka, Ito Shinsui, in Andreas Marks, Seven Masters: 20th Century Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Wells Collection, 2015, pp. 99-103

(inv. no. 10-2628)

price: $5,000

Ito Shinsui

verso seal


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site last updated
August 14, 2022

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475