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Takashi Ito


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Takashi Ito

Ito Takashi was one of the lesser known landscape artists who designed prints for the shin hanga publisher Watanabe Shozaburo. Like several other print artists of this period, including Ito Shinsui and Kawase Hasui, Ito Takashi studied painting under Kaburagi Kiyokata. In addition, he attended the Tokyo School of Fine Arts and studied with Yuki Somei. Takashi primarily worked as a painter and designed woodblocks intermittently. He designed about 85 woodblock prints during his life, from the early 1920's through 1965.

Many of Takashi's early woodblock prints were only printed in one or two colors, because he was still experimenting with composition and design. These prints were probably not widely distributed. In 1923, a devastating earthquake struck Tokyo destroying the blocks for Takashi's early prints. However, at least one print, Ferry at Odai, Tokyo, was recarved by Watanabe's craftsmen and reprinted for many years afterwards.

Many of Takashi's prints are idealistic images that emphasize the beauty of the unspoiled Japanese landscape. He enjoyed depicting dramatic seasonal and weather phenomena and often used bright, almost surreal colors to emphasize these changes. Occasionally people are part of his designs, but they are always incidental, solitary figures. A typical print, Takegawa River at Dawn, shows man living in harmony with nature. Takashi's prints evoke the Japan of old and represent the height of romantic shin hanga landscapes.

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