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Movements, Styles, and Tendencies Sōsaku-hanga Creative Prints

Sōsaku-hanga Creative Prints

Sōsaku-hanga Creative Prints Collage

Started: 1904

Ended: 1960s

"The virtue of the print lies in the certainty that it comes from a creative process which permits no sham. Unlike brush painting, it permits no wavering of the hand. It is honest."


Prior to the 20th century, printmaking in Japan had been largely relegated to the commercial process of ukiyo-e woodblocks in which an artist would work with carvers, printers, and publishers to create highly reproducible works of art glamorizing traditional subjects. With the arrival of the Mejii Period in 1868, Japanese artists became exposed to Western influences, spurring the sōsaku-hanga, or "creative prints,' art movement. Prints were transformed from cheap products made for the masses into original works of high art created by an artist that emphasized his or her individual voice and perspective while incorporating modern techniques and styles. Sōsaku-hanga's emergence was concurrent with Yōga, a painting movement also influenced by Western art ideals. The emergence of both, with their impetus toward creative self-expression, was responsible for establishing the new avant-garde in Japan.

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