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Strokes 81-21

Japanese Color Lithograph

Strokes 81-21

by Hara Takeshi, 1981


IHL Cat. #166

About This Print

"Hara has been working with the theme of 'strokes' since the 1970s. The strokes are paths of light, each one a range of intensities captured by Hara's magnificent technique of colour gradation."1  His prints, exhibiting "flat coolness and perfect evenness"2 at first appear to be silkscreens, but they are achieved through lithography "often involving many different printings"3 using the artist's "special technique with a method of applying the ink with huge rollers to give his work an element of unbelievable smoothness, lushness, and control."4

I was immediately drawn to Hara's work when it first came to my attention in 2007, seeing its indebtedness to traditional Japanese calligraphy in its movement while substituting a rainbow of saturated colors for the traditional black sumi ink. I find Hara's work cerebral, alternately calming and exciting, and continually interesting. 

For this 1981 print, Hara offers us the ultimate in cool, with shades of blues and greys evoking the isolation one can feel in winter - perhaps 81-21 is the artist's ideograph for "solitude."


detail - Strokes 81-21
click on image to enlarge

1 Contemporary Japanese Prints: The Urban Bonsai, Jackie Menzies, Art Gallery of New South Wales1992, p. 29
2 Ibid.
3 Contemporary Japanese Prints: Symbols of a Society in Transition, Lawrence Smith, Harper & Row Publishers, 1985, p. 28.
4 Collecting Modern Japanese Prints, Then and Now, Mary and Norman Tolman, Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1994, p. 126.


Print Details

 IHL Catalog  #166
 Title  Strokes 81-21
 Artist
 Hara Takeshi (b. 1942)
 Signature
 Takeshi Hara
 Seal
 Publication Date  1981
 Edition  32 of 60
 Publisher  self-published
 Printer  self-printed
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  excellent
 Genre  contemporary lithograph
 Miscellaneous  Arches 88 paper
 Format  
 H x W Paper  26 3/4 x 22 1/4 in. (67.9 x 56.5 cm)
 Collections This Print  
 Reference Literature  

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