Artist in Focus - Ohara Koson

Ohara Koson was born in Kanazawa, Japan in 1877. He was a Japanese painter and print designer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and part of the Shin-hanga movement.

Shin-hanga translating to ‘new prints’ refers to an early 20th century Japanese artistic movement that revived the traditional ukiyo-e style of printmaking that was dominant between the 17th and 19th centuries.

Koson is thought to have trained in painting and design at the Ishikawa Prefecture Technical School between 1889 and 1893. He also studied painting with renowned Japanese artist Suzuki Kason (1860–1919).

Although he produced some ukiyo-e triptychs illustrating episodes of the Russo-Japanese War, Koson produced prints of mainly birds and flowers.

His earliest designs are notable for their narrow formats and soft colours whilst his designs printed after 1926 have much brighter colours.

Through his association with the Japanese print publisher Watanabe Shōzaburō, Ohara's work was exhibited abroad. His work became popular and sold well particularly in the United States.


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