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VJP title
Utamaro print showing

 

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FUKAZAWA Sakuichi (深沢索一)

 

Fukazawa Sakuichi (深沢索一 1896-1947), born in Niigata prefecture, attended the Tokyo Central School of Commerce and Industry. From around 1918 he began studying woodblock printing with the help of Suwa Kanenori, and by 1922 he was exhibiting at the Nihon Sôsaku Hanga Kyôkai (Japan Creative Print Association: 日本創作版画協会). He was an associate on the magazine Han (版 "Print," 1928-29) with Hiratsuka Un'ichi, Azechi Umetarô, and Munakata Shikô, and a founding member of the Nihon Hanga Kyôkai (Japan Print Association: 日本洋画協会) in 1931.

Fukazawa Sakuichi 1932 jumoku
Fukazawa Sakuichi: Jumoku (Trees: 樹木)
Series: Sakuichi jisen shôhin shû, daiisshû
(Collection of Small Works Selected by the Artist, First Series: 索一自選小品集 第一輯)
Woodcut, 1932 (158 x 129 mm); signed with seal reading "Saku" (索)

Some of Fukazawa's most expressive works were monochromatic designs in a modernist mode, such as the one shown above, titled Jumoku (Trees: 樹木), from 1932. According to Onchi Kôshirô, Fukazawa's graphic style was somewhat abbreviated and his cutting and printing technique unusually soft, shallow, and smooth. This matches what is apparent in "Trees," where the image relies on straightforward cutting and gauging away of wood to reveal the forms. The flow of the composition is sinuous and emphatic. One is reminded of the ongoing influence in Japan of woodcuts by the German Expressionists, whose works were widely known in Japan.

Fukazawa was active in submitting designs to dôjin zasshi (coterie art magazines: 同人雑誌). These included Shi to hanga (Poetry and Prints: 詩と版画 1922-c. 1925) vols. 9, 11; HANGA (1924-1930) vols. 1, 3, 8-11, 13-15; Minato (Harbor: 港 1926-1927), and its successor Kaze (Wind: 風 first series 1927-28) vol. 3; and Mura no hanga (Village Prints: 村の版画 1932-1935) vols. 4, 6, 8. For the inaugural issue of HANGA (February 1924), Fukazawa submitted a view from just outside a small town (Fu no kôgai, "Outside the town in winter": 冬の郊外). He probably used a curved chisel to cut most or all of the design. Certainly, the forms in the lower half of the print and the clouds above were created with such a tool. As with the "Trees" design shown above, the mood is expressionistic in its adaptation of European graphic art.

Fukazawa Sakuichi 1932 fu-no-kogai
Fukazawa Sakuichi: Fu no kôgai ("Outside the Town in Winter": 冬の郊外)
Magazine: HANGA, vol. 1 (February 1924)
Woodcut, 1932 (158 x 129 mm); unsigned, but cited in the list of artists for this issue

Fukazawa contributed 13 designs to the collaborative Shin Tokyo hyakkei (One hundred views of New Tokyo: 新東京百景), and it is these compositions that are his most familiar works. It was in the autumn of 1928 when the first print by each of the nine artists represented in the series was published and displayed at the inaugural exhibition of the so-called Takujô-sha ("On the Table Group": 卓上社). The entire series was issued from 1928 to 1932 on a subscription basis through Nakajima Jûtarô of the Sôsaku Hanga Kurabu (Sôsaku Hanga Club: 創作版画クラブ). All the artists represented in the series were members of the Nihon Sôsaku Hanga Kyôkai (Japan Creative Print Association, 日本創作版画協会 est. 1918) as well as founding members of the Nihon Hanga Kyôkai (1931): Fujimori Shizuo (藤森静雄; 1891-1943), Fukazawa Sakuichi (深沢索一; 1896-1947), Henmi Takashi (逸見享; 1895-1944), Hiratsuka Un'ichi (平塚運一; 1895-1997), Kawakami Sumio (川上澄生; 1895-1972), Maekawa Senpan (前川千帆; 1885-1977), Onchi Kôshirô (恩地孝四郎; 1891-1955), Shimozawa Kihachirô (下澤木鉢郎; 1901-1984), and Suwa Kaneori (諏訪兼紀; 1897-1932).

Fukazawa Sakuichi 1930 shinjuku
Fukazawa Sakuichi: Shinjuku kafe-gai
(Café district in Shinjuku: 新宿カフェ街)
Series: Shin Tokyo hyakkei (One hundred Vews of New Tokyo: 新東京百景)
Woodcut, October 1930 (240 x 180 mm)' signed with a printed "SAKU" at lower right

Shown above is a scene from the 100 views series called Shinjuku kafe-gai (Café district in Shinjuku: 新宿カフェ街). Fukazawa used simple geometric forms and silhouettes to populate a view that is indicative of his graphic style. The figures appear to be wearing either Japanese or Western fashions. On the sign in blue-gray is written Yebisu Bîru (Ebisu Beer: ヱビスビール), and on the yellow sign, Kafuê Yebisu (Café Ebisu: カフチーヱビス). "Ebisu" was derived from the name of the area in Shibuya, Tokyo, where the company had its first brewery built in 1890.

A second example by Fukazawa from the 100 views series is shown below, the Senjô-Ôhashi (Great Bridge at Senjô: 千住大橋). The earlier structure was first constructed in 1594, somewhat upstream from the present site. It survived for more than 300 years, an amazing achievement for a heavily used wooden bridge. The current structure dates from 1927, only two or three years before Fukazawa's print. Made of steel, it is emblematic of the "New Tokyo" that is celebrated in the series.

Fukazawa Sakuichi 1929 senju ohashi
Fukazawa Sakuichi: Senjô-Ôhashi
(Great Bridge at Senjô: 千住大橋)
Series: Shin Tokyo hyakkei (One hundred Vews of New Tokyo: 新東京百景)
Woodcut,, c. 1929-1930 (180 x 240 mm)

Fukazawa designed book covers with Western bindings as early as 1924, but from around 1936 he began to focus more on such work. He is also recorded as a block cutter for moku-hanga (block print: 木版画) illustrations. Even so, he continued producing sôsaku hanga (creative prints: 創作版画) during the Second World War and up until his death. His work was also included in the 1947 Nihon Hanga Kyôkai (Association of Sôsaku Hanga Artists: 日本洋画協会) group exhibition.

Many of Fukazawa's prints are not signed, especially prints from series, which are typically mounted to backing paper with artist names and print titles, or with such information on folders. Occasionally, his artist seal reading "Saku" (索) can be found on an impression (see the lower right corner of the first image on this page), or a printed/stamped version of "SAKU" in English (see the lower right corner of the "Café District" design shown earlier on this page).

Fukazawa's prints can be found in private and public collections, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales; Art Institute of Chicago; British Museum, London; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA; Honolulu Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. Merritt, Helen: Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints — The Early Years. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1998, pp. 276, 282.
  2. Onchi, Koshiro, "The Modern Japanese Print: An Internal History of the Sosaku Hanga Movement","trans. U. Osamu and C. H. Mitchell, in Ukiyo-e geijutsu, no. 11, 1965, p. 24.
  3. Stephens, Amy Reigle: The New Wave: Twentieth-century Japanese prints from the Robert O. Muller Collection. London & Leiden: Bamboo Publishing & Hotei Japanese Prints, 1993, pp. 18, 137-138, nos. 145-149.
  4. Uhlenbeck, Chris, Newland, Amy, and de Vries, Maureen: Waves of renewal. modern Japanese prints 1900 to 1960. Leiden: Hotei Publishing, 2016, pp. 54, nos. 214-216.
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