Tadashige Ono: Land Bridge/Overpass (Rikkyô) Experimental Print

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Artist: Tadashige Ono (1909-1990)
Title: Yama (Mountain)
Date: 1958

Large experimental work showing a man pulling a handcart up a steep ramp towards a rail overpass. We see the tracks at right and a narrow tower at left. In experimental works like this one, the matrix of the paper itself was first darkened with bokuju, a liquid form of sumi, and then sizing was applied. Then the printed areas are done with contrasting tones of light gouache to create the design. Verso, a handmade Japanese paper is affixed to the print by the artist, and he’s written the title “Land Bridge/Overpass”, the date 1-9-5-5 and the paper is signed in both Japanese and romaji.  From about 1948, Ono developed his own special technique known as inkoku tashoku-zuri mokuhan (‘color negative woodblock printing’). He was influenced by German Expressionism, and he strongly believed in the idea of art for everyone. Onchi Kochiro made the following comments about Ono Tadashige: “He has tried fresh new technical devices and has been consistently active as an experimenter”. Onchi also noted that “there are two currents of feeling in his work, one a strong feeling for the weird, the other a rather plaintive melodic feeling”. As there is no edition size noted by the artist, this could very well be something of a monoprint, with no other extant examples in existence.

Condition: Very good impression, color and condition. In areas of thickly applied pigment at top there are crackles due to its thickness. Printed on thick, highly textured paper. Some wrinkles to the mounted backing paper.

Dimensions: 30 x 45.2 cm
Signed: T. Ono in brush in Romaji recto, and Tadashige Ono in Kanji and Romaji, verso