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Oku no Hosomichi, Matsushima, Sendai Prefecture

Kiyoshi Saitō was one of the foundational artists of the sosaku hanga (creative print) movement, which rose to prominence in Japan during the early twentieth century. In contrast to traditional woodblock production from the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, sosaku hanga artists believed that the entire process of printmaking, from design to printing, should be carried out by the artist without the assistance of printing professionals. In this print Saitō demonstrated his refined sense of design and poetic sensibilities through the wonderful way in which he captured the dim evening light flattening and compressing distant landscapes. The title of the print, Oku no Hosomichi, or Narrow Road to the Deep North, makes a connection to the masterwork of the same title by the poet Matsuo Bashō (1644–1694) who embarked on a five-month journey to northern Japan in 1689.

Kiyoshi Saitō
Japanese, 1907–1997
Oku no Hosomichi, Matsushima, Sendai Prefecture
1965
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
15 x 20 ¾ in. (38.09 x 52.70 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Robert R. Sturgeon, 2005.26

Large image not available.