Paul Binnie, Beauty Portrait, Contact Lens of 1970, Contemporary Art


Artist: Paul Binnie (1967 – )
Title: Contact Lens of 1970
Series: Flowers of a Hundred Years (Hyakunen no hana)
Published: by the artist
Date: 2017
Edition: 37/100
Dimensions: 47.5 x 33.5 cm

Original Japanese woodblock print. 

A young woman prepares to put on a contact lens, carefully placing it on her right forefinger, and holding a small mirror in her left hand. Her hair is stylishly mid-length and curled under, and instead of a kimono, she is wearing an extremely fashionable kaftan decorated with bright flowers. This vibrant robe is set against a more subtle background of green-blue which shades irregularly from dark above to light below.

Contact lenses were first suggested theoretically by Leonardo da Vinci, but were actually invented in the later 19th century, though of glass. Plastics were introduced in the 1930s, which allowed hard contact lenses to be lighter and less intrusive than glass, although it wasn’t until 1959 that soft contact lenses were developed, which revolutionised their comfort and wearability and lead to widespread use by around 1970, including Japan.

Series and print title embossed on the top left-hand side. Edition number and artist signature in original pencil. ‘Binnie’ embossed on the bottom margin.

Paul Binnie (1967 - )

Blending traditional methods with a modern style, Paul Binnie is working mostly under the influence of Shin-hanga movement, founded by the publisher Shozaburo Watanabe (1885-1962). Shozaburo was aiming to renew declining Ukiyo-e tradition and break into foreign markets by commissioning new, young artists who would work within the old co-operated system, composed of the publisher, artist, engraver and printers. However, Paul makes his own prints from beginning to the end by himself, as was done by artists of another post-war movement: Sosaku hanga.

He mostly works in several subjects such as kabuki, tattoo, landscape and beauty prints. His original plan had been to stay in Japan less than he actually did but once he started to sell his kabuki prints, he decided to expand his technique more and has created works of this subject until 1998 in Japan. His interest in Japanese tattoo was born when he saw Yakuza, members of the Japanese mafia who traditionally have body tattoos, bathing for the first time in a sento (Japanese-style public bath). He is still working on a series of woodblock prints of this theme. Near the end of 1997, he began to do Japanese landscape prints and these became a huge success.

More Information
Print FormatDai-Oban
ArtistPaul Binnie (1967 - )
SubjectBeauty & Female, Contemporary
Size 47.5 x 33.5 cm
Condition ReportMinor brown spot on the left margin created in the washi paper production process.
SeriesFlowers of a Hundred Years::Paul Binnie