Ito Shinsui, After Bathing, Shin Hanga

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Original Japanese woodblock print.

Artist: Ito Shinsui (1898-1972)
Title: After Bathing
Publisher: Watanabe Shozaburo
Date: 1930
Edition: 66/250
Dimensions: 17 x 42.7 cm
Condition: Some adhesive residue and strip of tape on back from previous mounting. Foxing.

A young lady clad in a cotton robe of stylised waves and maple leaves, wrings a towel after a bath. She gently grips the blue and white yukata between her teeth, preventing it from dropping into the water. Much like the contemporaneous works of Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), ladies in various stages of bathing was a reoccurring subject for Shinsui. Often his just-bathed ladies exude an atmosphere of day-dreaminess, stressed by the wispy circular motions of the earthy backdrop in this design.

Both Shinsui and his publisher, Watanabe Shozaburo (1885-1962), desired to cross the limitations of woodblock printing at a time when the form had moved away from being a daily commodity to an artisan craft. By striving to achieve something different to the painted medium, Shinsui searched for a directness of texture and expression, an art form that paradoxically contained both immediate and impressionistic qualities. His work with Watanabe brought his work closer to this aim, employing thick, pulpy washi paper and natural pigments of the highest quality in order to retain their colour over time. As an 'artist of customs and manner's' intrigued by the micro-tonalities of domestic life, such richness of feel and texture undoubtedly aided Shinsui's transfer of direct observation and subtle gestures into his art.

More Information
Artist Name Shinsui Ito
Subject Beauty & Female, Modern/Shin-Hanga
Dimensions 17 x 42.7 cm
Publisher Watanabe