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Ito Takashi – Okuiri no se (Oirase Gorge)


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SKU: MLS2022337 Category: Tag:
Ito Takashi - Oirase in Spring

Ito Takashi – Oirase in Spring

Not much of Ito Takashi’s work after his time with Watanabe Shōzaburō Publishing is known; in fact, it is exceptionally hard to find any copies in the research archives. It is known that he lived until 1982, so it can be reasonably assumed that he continued to create art, perhaps instead self-publishing sosaku-hanga style. This print seems to be one of those rare cases.

Similar to “Spring at Oirase in Towadako National Park”, published in 1949 by Watanabe (shown here), this print was published later in Jan 1958 (seen within the print). The artist’s name is written in pencil on the verso.

An incredibly unique piece.

The Woodblock Print

This oban-sized woodblock is in very fine condition; lovely detail and contrasts. Clean and intact margins, clean verso.

About the Artist

Ito Takashi (伊藤孝之, 1894-1982) was born in Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture, studied art at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts, and was a student at the private school of Kiyokata Kaburagi. Kaburagi was the master of nihonga painting in traditional Japanese style. Kaburagi knew the publisher Watanabe Shozaburo well and his painting class developed into something like a “talent pool” for Watanabe who was looking for excellent young artists who wanted to work for him.

Takashi became one of the artists working for Watanabe. He made about 50 landscape prints for the publisher in the 1920s (with the first in 1922) and the 1930s and also after the war. Watanabe considered Takashi Ito as one of his “upper league” designers like Kawase Hasui or Ito Shinsui; their works were mostly published in Oban or larger formats.

The landscape prints by Takashi are reminiscent of German 19th century paintings and prints, full of lonely romanticism. Like Kawase Hasui, also Ito Takashi shows seldom more than one person in his designs, creating an eerie and sentimental mood when contemplating a Takashi print. The style in which Takashi Ito prints were created looks more like brush stroke paintings than typical Japanese woodblock prints with a lot of color gradation instead of plain even color areas that are so typical for classical Japanese ukiyo-e – it required highly skilled carvers and printers to produce Takashi Ito prints. An incomplete list of his work found here.


Takashi, Ito


(A) Very Fine Condition




Early Edition


Sosaku hanga


Watanabe Shozaburo


Oban (10"x15")


Landscape, River / Lake / Ocean

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