The Shin-Hanga Art Movement

Today, I decide to write about one of the most unique art movements of the 20th century, which actually is a rehash of an old japanese art-style: The Shin-Hanga Art Movement.

The Japanese woodblock art style of shin-hanga [“new woodblock print”] began to flourish in the mid-1910s, revitalising the ukiyo-e [“woodblock prints of the floating world”] art form of the Edo and Meiji eras from the late 17th through 19th centuries. These shin-hanga pieces were defined by their unique semblance strongly influenced by Western impressionism.

Common types of shin-hanga include fukeiga [landscapes] kachō-e [birds and flowers] and bijinga [beautiful women].

The form began to gain widespread popularity domestically and abroad thanks to efforts from publisher Shōzaburō Watanabe who coined the term shin-hanga in 1915 and began publishing works from prominent artists of this category such as Hiroshi Yoshida, Hasui Kawase, Hashiguchi Goyō, and Itō Shinsui, who all produced shin-hanga prints in the early to mid 20th century.

The form largely died out post war Japan, however, and never regained its traction. Nonetheless, today it remains one of the most popular Japanese art styles among collectors. 

-Hansi

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