Rapid Stream, Oirasa 2010
4/100, 24 by 17 3/4 inches
The story of Kazuyuki Ohtsu (b. 1935) is one very much in the Japanese tradition. After his initial training from 1954 on at Umehara Hanga Studio in Tokyo, he worked for 40 years for the famous print maker Kiyoshi Saito, from 1958 until Saitoís death in 1997. This extremely long term relationship and incredible loyalty is hard for the Western mind to understand, as talented pupils in the West are most likely to leave the fold as soon as they have learned enough to succeed on their own.
In a relationship of two gifted print makers and artists, where one is subsumed to the other, a unique blending of talents occurs and individual styles are impossible to discern.
Kiyoshi Saito was already well established as an artist by the time Ohtsu joined him. As a successful department store sign maker, Saito sold his business to finance the study of art in Tokyo. He became involved in making wood block prints at a time when traditional methods were changing. Rather than separating each task, such as sketching, printing and engraving to individual craftsman under the supervision of the master, the new Sosaku Hanga movement, of which Saito was a prime proponent, charged the artist with personally completing all parts of the print making process. After the war ended in 1945, Saito exhibited all over the world, from Paris to South America and the United States, and contributed to popularizing Japanese prints in the West.
Upon Saitoís death, Ohtsu continued to produce wonderful woodblock prints as he had done for his entire artistic life. The beauty and tranquility of the natural scenes have a strong appeal, embodying the love of nature inherent to the Japanese culture. Interestingly, a calendar was made of Ohtsuís prints called Serenity in 2011, and another is offered for 2012.
Each print has come directly from Japan, and is in original condition on fine, high quality paper with vibrant colouring. The printing process is meticulous and time consuming, with 3 or 4 wood blocks and as many as a dozen printing stages for each print. The prints are all from limited editions and now very scarce, so we are delighted to present such a beautiful selection.
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