Another of the many fine prints by Haku Maki is his series called the "Poem" prints. This horizontal print has a most unusual design. At the upper right we find a 1 1/2" bright yellow dot. Below that is a an upside down u-shaped white line like a upside down three leaf clover - a small red dot enclosed. To the right is a square of wobbly white lines done with a four spoke wheel in the middle. The final touch is a small green bright tear shaped spot. The entire design rests on the off-white, ivory colored background with the typical rough texture that Maki achieved by pressing the paper against cement.
The framed print measures 22 3/4" ” wide by 16 1/2"” high – the image is 18” wide by 12” high. It is in excellent condition with no toning - however there is a water stain at the lower right front of the top mat (photo # 9)- we do not believe that this has affected the print. It is pencil signed, numbered and titled by Maki and bears his red seal in the lower left area. It is number 2 of and edition of 150. We date it to the 1970s.
Haku Maki was one of the grand masters of the Sosaku-hanga print movement. Maki Haku 巻白 (1924-2000) is the artistic name of Maejima Tadaaki, who was born in Ibaraki Prefecture. He had no formal art training, but was guided by the sōsaku hanga leading artist Onchi Kōshirō (1891-1955). Maki Haku is best known for his abstract-calligraphic prints. He distorted and rearranged characters and strokes to produce striking and serene images.
The Sōsaku hanga, lit. "creative prints"?) art movement in early 20th century Japan, during the Taishō and Shōwa periods advocated the principles of "self-drawn",( jiga), "self-carved" ,(jikoku) and "self-printed" (jizuri), according to which the artist, with the desire of expressing the self, is the sole creator of art. As opposed to the shin hanga ("New Prints") movement that maintained the traditional ukiyo-e collaborative system (the hanmoto system) where the artist, carver, printer, and publisher engaged in division of labor, creative print artists distinguished themselves as artists creating art for art’s sake.
Haku Maki specialized in mixed media. Blakemore in "Who's Who in Modern Japanese Prints" -wet cement and the use of Chinese characters as design motifs. The cement on which the designs are inscribed can be worked deeply and precisely, creating prints that look very different from those embossed through other processes." Maki passed away in 2000; as a result his prints have rapidly escalated in price and value as this talented artist will no longer be producing his unique work.