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Kawano Kaoru Japanese Woodblock Print: Snow Camellia

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Directory: Archives: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Pre 1960: item # 1012980

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Kawano Kaoru Japanese Woodblock Print: Snow Camellia
Entitled “Snow Camellia” ("Kantsubaki"), the enchanting little figure in this highly textured woodblock print by respected Sosaka Hanga artist Kawano Kaoru (1916-1965) is from the Series “Dancing Figure.” This is a genuine lifetime print strike dating from the 1950’s and not a posthumous edition. The square red seal of Kawano is stamped in the lower right hand corner, and there is an oval seal mark printed on the reverse.

The image is boldly printed with strong two-toned dark green colors, depicting a little girl dressed in a patterned green robe edged with red. She wears a white headdress through which the wood grain appears in gray. Her slightly down-turned face bears the slightest suggestion of a tiny nose and mouth beneath demurely closed eyelids. This woodblock is wonderfully over-printed with lots of shiny white mica on the girl, and the entire dark green background is also dusted with mica.

Kawano Kaoru was born in Otaru, Hokkaido, and in 1934, he began his studies at the Kawabata Art School. In 1944 his prints were first accepted by the Japan Print Association; thereafter he was drafted to the army and taken prisoner of war in Siberia. He resumed activity in 1949. By the 1950's, he began to exhibit more frequently in solo exhibitions and international competitions. In 1954 he won the Kokuga Prize. In 1957, he participated in the International Serigraph Exhibition in New York and other exhibitions in Chicago, Yugoslavia and other places; and after 1959, one-man shows in Japan as well as in Seattle and Chicago. He was a member of the Japan Print Society. He died at the age of 49.

Kawano's works are chiefly fantastic and childish, often depicting girls, birds and flowers for the subjects of his prints. His romantic and dreamy expression is backed up by his religion of Christianity, as his motif gives a very impressive style. His prints sometimes lean towards the sentimental, particularly his depiction of young children. His distinctive technique is characterized by his effective and scrupulous use of natural wood grain patterns for the background as well as for the body of his subject. This provides both depth and texture to his designs. Most of his prints are signed or sealed, and many are self-carved and self-printed.

CONDITION is pristine. The workmanship in both carving and printing is extremely good. Crisp clean image and impression with strong color, excellent registration and fine detail. No toning or fading; unmounted. Lush use of mica throughout (which unfortunately does not show up well in the photographs). Strong ink bleed through; printed on heavy high quality handmade paper; no tears, stains or folds. This is such a charming woodblock print – one of the cutest "young girl" images for which Kawano is so well known.

DIMENSIONS: Oban size image measures approximately 15” (38 cm) x 9” (23 cm), plus full original margins.



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