Sekino Jun'ichirô (1914–1988) was the leading Japanese figurative printmaker to emerge from the circle of Onchi Kôshirô (1891–1955). Highly skilled in drawing and composition, Sekino assimilated traditional and modern art from Japan, Europe, and the United States in his portraiture, still life, and landscapes. A prolific artist, he worked for nearly six decades, producing well over a thousand prints, drawings, watercolours, oil paintings, and illustrated books. His best works, especially those around the mid-twentieth century, stand out as notable achievements in modern Japanese printmaking.1
This charming design by the eminent sôsaku hanga ("creative prints": 創作版画) artist Sekino Jun'ichirô (1914-1988) comes from an important immediate-post-war portfolio of ten works, two each by five artists (Kawanishi Hide, Onchi Kôshirô, Maekawa Senpan, Saitô Kiyoshi, and Sekino Jun'ichirô)
Tôhoku is a term used for the most northerly provinces of the main island of Honshû, where Sekino was born. Given the timing and subject matter of this series, it was clearly initended as a look back at a peaceful, pre-war Japan, with the simple pastimes and dress of Japanese women presented in a nostalgic manner.
Accompanying the set of ten prints was a pamphlet (not included with our print) that described Sekino's design: "Country life, in the Northern parts of Japan, has many unique features. This picture is a scene in a wealthy country home. The dress is about the same as that of other parts of Japan, but the big fireplace in the middle of the room is characteristic of northern Japan. Charcoal is burned in the fireplace for both heating and cooking. The maid is preparing hot tea for a guest."
Other impressions are in the collections of the British Museum (reg #1980,1227,0.17.7), the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Acc #65.1069), and the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.2-3
- Fiorillo, John, "The art of Sekino Jun’ichirô: Expressive realism and geometric formalism," in: Andon, 2017, no. 104, p. 73.
- Smith, Lawrence. Japanese Prints during the Allied Occupation 1945-1952 --- Onchi Kôshirô, Ernst Hacker and the First Thursday Society (London: British Museum, 2002), pp. 62 and 89, no. 48.
- Amanda Zehnder: Modern Japanese Prints -- The Twentieth Century (Pittsburgh: Carnegie Museum of Art, 2009), p. 161.