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Strokes 80-16

Torii Kotondo (1900-1976)

Japanese Color Lithograph 

Strokes 80-16

by Hara Takeshi, 1980

The Heroine Koman in Tanba Yosaku from Woodblock Print Supplements to the Complete Works of Chikamatsu

IHL Cat. #197

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, calming and continually interesting.

For this 1980 print, Hara has softened his usual white background with the addition of a subtle cream color which allows the strokes to float off the page.  

detail - Strokes 80-16
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 #197
 Title Strokes 80-16
 Hara Takeshi (b. 1942)
 Takeshi Hara
 Seal embossed seal lower right corner
 Publication Date 1980
 Edition 12 of 100
 Publisher  self-published
 Printer self-printed
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent
 Genre contemporary lithograph
 H x W Paper 14 1/2 x 19 1/2 in. (36.8 x 49.5 cm) note: dimensions are of visible portion of framed print
 Collections This Print 
 Reference Literature