Koshiro Onchi Exhibition

The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

This event has ended.

Onchi Koshiro (1891-1955) is widely known as a promoter of the modernization of woodcuts and a pioneer of abstract expression in Japan. He looked up to Takehisa Yumeji as his model in his teens and in 1914, together with Tanaka Kyokichi and Fujimori Shizuo, who were students at Tokyo Fine Arts School, he founded Tsukuhae, a coterie magazine of woodcuts and poems. “Lyric: The Clear Hours” (1915) and other works published in this magazine are known as harbingers of abstract expression in Japan. Once the Showa period began, amidst efforts to revive Tokyo after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 as a modern city, Onchi sympathized with the new trends in Europe and produced series of works inspired by constructive figures and contemporary music. Meanwhile, he also produced profound portrait prints comparable with oil paintings.

Aiming at the synthesis of image, language, and design, Onchi was also involved in the production of numerous illustrated books, which are innovative even in our eyes today. After World War II, with appreciation and encouragement from American collectors who came to occupied Japan, Onchi began to concentrate on abstract expressions. The final ten years of his life were an extremely fruitful period for him as an artist.

This exhibition consists mainly of 250 prints, including approximately 60 important works owned by major art museums abroad. It also presents 11 oil paintings, 26 watercolors and drawings, 20 photographs, and 79 book designs, demonstrating this artist’s cross-genre work. Enjoy the versatile world of Onchi Koshiro, who made a tremendous contribution to the modernization of print art in the Taisho and postwar Showa periods.



from January 13, 2016 to February 28, 2016


Koshiro Onchi



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