Books, Periodicals and Paintings

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Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎

 

The accomplishments of Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎 (1891–1955) throughout the first half of the 20th century extend far beyond his eminence as a printmaker. He was an innovator who domesticated the ideas and ideals of abstraction and "creative printmaking" in Japan when still in art school. He was also an oil painter, largely in his early years, where he experimented with themes and concepts he would also apply to his prints. 

From his early years, working with Takehisa Yumeiji 竹久夢二, among others, he began a long career as a book designer and book illustrator. From the very beginning of his life in the arts he was the center and focus of the Creative Print Movement (Sōsaku Hanga 創作版画), surrounding himself with fellow artists who took inspiration from his dedication to the cause of self-expression. From his student efforts in the nineteen-teens until his premature and much-mourned death in the 50s, he was a dominant influence in his world. He was also a poet and photographer of no mean skill and combined all those interests in the wonderful artist's books he created. 

Onchi was editor of the most important book arts periodical of the pre-War period, Shosō Magazine 書窓. He designed over a thousand books, collaborated in his later years with such important figures as Kitasono Katue 北園克衛 - in short, he WAS the major figure involved with works on paper in his time and provided support and inspiration to scores of other artists.

It has been decades since the wonderful work on Onchi done by Elizabeth Swinton, the only substantial work on him ever done in English. Though he is the subject of a small cottage industry of scholarship in Japan, he is largely a much-admired mystery abroad in the 21st century. Just this past fall/winter 2021-22, the Chicago Institute of Art held an exhibition of his abstract prints. 

We are showing interesting material by him that covers the breadth of his output: original artwork - illustrations, prints and paintings - several trade bindings and one artistic binding designed by him and  a nearly complete run of Shosō magazine 書窓. 

 

Please click on the images below to enjoy photos and descriptions.

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90986.Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎, artist. Sterbender Taube [Dying Pigeon] [original oil painting]. c. 1910s. Framed and matted original oil painting attributed to Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎 (1891–1955). Artwork is 17.7cm x 12.1cm and the black frame is 30 x 25cm. The painting is on canvas/canvas board and is under glass with the title written in oil near the bottom edge.

I bought this painting from a small Japanese dealer who informed me that a story had come with it. The background story is that the painting was done by Onchi Kōshirō during his art student days or soon thereafter in the 19 teens or twenties. He was experimenting with abstraction and non-representational art at the time. He showed the work at hand to some art student friends and, one, as friends are wont to do, gave Onchi a dig by saying it looked like a dying pigeon. Onchi liked the title and wrote it in German (which he studied) as "Sterbender Taube” right on the painting. I have more than a suspicion this may well be Onchi's work. We have handled quite a few Onchi paintings, including at least two semi-abstractions where the brushwork is very similar. And the German text resembles his efforts in Roman script.

The accomplishments of Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎 (1891–1955) throughout the first half of the 20th century extend far beyond his eminence as a printmaker. He was an innovator who domesticated the ideas and ideals of abstraction and "creative printmaking" in Japan when still in art school. He was also an oil painter, largely in his early years, where he experimented with themes and concepts he would also apply to his prints.

From his early years, working with Takehisa Yumeiji 竹久夢二, among others, he began a long career as a book designer and book illustrator. From the very beginning of his life in the arts he was the center and focus of the Creative Print movement, surrounding himself with fellow artists who took inspiration from his dedication to the cause of self-expression. From his student efforts in the nineteen-teens creating the amazing TSUKUHAE journal until his premature and much-mourned death in the 50s, he was a dominant influence in his world.

He was also a poet and photographer of no mean skill. He combined all those interests in the wonderful artist's books he created, such masterworks as UMI NO DOWA, KISETSU-HYŌ, HIKKO KANNO, among many others. He was editor of the most important book arts periodical of the pre-War period, SHOSŌ magazine. He designed over a thousand books, collaborated in his later years with such important figures as Kitasono Katue - in short, he WAS the major figure involved with works on paper in his time and provided support and inspiration to scores of other artists.

Is it his work? I don't know for certain but I like the story and the little painting both.

As an attribution, a very reasonable $500.

 

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88726. Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎 & TANAKA Kyôkichi, artists and designers; HAGIWARA Sakutarô, poet. TSUKI NI HOERU 月に吠える. [HOWLING AT THE MOON]. Tôkyô, Kanjôshisha. Taishô 6 [1917]. Bound in paper-covered boards with a thick paper printed dustwrapper, 20.0 x 14.0 mm. The dustwrapper has a design by Tanaka and there are 11 internal plates, as well as three woodblock prints by Onchi. This poetry collection, self-published by Hagiwara (1886-1942) in 500 copies, is regarded as creating a revolution in Japanese poetry. The spirit inspiring the work, according to Hagiwara, was "psychic terror"and, as such, broke all the traditional bonds with traditional poetics. Nothing can be said that would over-emphasize the importance of Onchi and Tanaka to the development of printmaking and book design in an abstract and avant garde idiom in early 20th Century Japan. With their fellow student Fujimori Shizuo at the Tôkyô School of Fine Arts, they created the wonderful art magazine TSUKUHAE in 1914. It ceased production in 1915 when Tanaka died of tuberculosis. His work, along with that of Onchi were combined in this volume. Thus the combination of the two, along with the work of Hagiwara make the first edition of HOWLING AT THE MOON one of the most important treasures of the early avant garde in Japan.
The copy in hand suffers from some cracking along the hinges, edgewear and a few nicks. The dustwrapper is fragile and split along the edges and internally strengthened with tape. There are both censored and uncensored copies in existence. Ours has pages 103-108 excised for an offending erotic poem. I have examined images from three copies in collections besides this one and they all seem to suffer from the same weaknesses. Simply a very fragile book, printed in small numbers and very difficult to find.

$15,000

 

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90465. Onchi Kōshirō [artist and author] 恩地 孝四郎. Kanjō 感情 Sentiment. 大正7 [1918] . Tokyo. Kanjyō Shisha 感情詩社 Issue 20; June of 3rd year. 20号 3年6月号 23.5 x 15.5cm magazine with self-wrappers in [original?] glassine. 30 pages with introduction and poetry by Onchi with 12 black and white woodblock prints. Poetry, essays and art descriptions by Onchi and others in Japanese text. Kanjō 感情 Sentiment was a monthly magazine of poetry and art that published approx. 32 issues, beginning in Taisho 5 [1916].

Onchi (1891–1955) and his work need no introduction - he is considered the most important Japanese printmaker of the mid-Century and one of the most innovative and creative of all time. As a leader of the Sosaku Hanga Creative Print movement, he guided the development of many of the dominant figures of post-war art until his premature death in the 1950's.

Notable are the woodcuts on page 8 and 9、Jyotaini Kanshite 女体に関して and Jyotaini Tsuite 女体について, respectively, that experiment with the abstraction of the female form, the beginnings of a theme which Onchi explored throughout his career. This particular issue is also important as he explores the relationship between his lyrical images and the art of woodblock as well as lyricism and modernism in the early 20th Century in two essays. Ref Elizabeth Swinton, The Graphic Art of Onchi Koshiro, p.99.

Only copy of this issue located through research is held in Maebashi Bungakukan (Maebashi City Museum of Literature) 前橋文学館. An extremely ephemeral production.Toned wrappers and light foxing not affecting artwork.

$850.00

 

 

 

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90566. Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎. [Abstract Oil Painting]. Oil painting approx 41 x 32 cm in image size, an abstract(ish) still life with an apple, done while Onchi was quite young in about 1919. It is signed by him and is quite unusual in its embrace of abstraction (with a hint of the very influential Mr. Cezanne). Not for the fact of the abstract image itself, but rather for the medium. Oil paintings by Onchi are by no means common as he largely abandoned the medium by the 20s. Nor are his abstractions unknown, as he frequently created woodblock prints in an abstract mode and is, indeed, credited with the first fully abstract print in Japan [AKARUI TOKI] which appeared in his TSUKUHAE magazine number V in 1915. Nor is Cezanne's influence on the Japanese art world through his still lifes unknown, either. But this painting, combining oil and abstraction and a bit of Cezanne, makes for a remarkable piece, both historically and aesthetically.

$22,500.00

 

 

 

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87970 Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎. [A GROVE OF TREES] Oil on canvas, 45 x 33 cm. It is from a series of landscapes done in 1921. It is unsigned, but its authenticity is attested to by Onchi's eldest son, Kunio, on a slip affixed on the reverse of the canvas, with his personal seal. Onchi is a renowned artist, primarily remembered as a printmaker, as the most important figure of the "Sosaku Hanga" movement, a poet, and book designer. Yet early in his career he received formal instruction in Western art, beginning in 1909, when he joined the Hakuba-kai (White Horse Society) and the oil painting curriculum at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts a year later. Onchi's knowledge of German, acquired earlier in his education when he attended the the Doitsu kyokai chugakko (German Cooperative Middle School), may have given him access to early twentieth century German art. He acknowledged a special sympathy with contemporary German art and specifically cited the influence on his work of Edvard Munch and Wassily Kandinsky, artists in the German milieu who gave color and form emotional and evocative values. Despite his interest in Western art, Onchi never traveled to Europe or the United States, content to acquaint himself with contemporary developments through illustrations in books and magazines and Tokyo exhibitions of European art. This painting is a loose network of fluid, rhythmic brush strokes in greens and earth tones with blank areas of canvas and the weave of the cloth still showing. It shows, perhaps, the influence of landscapes by Max Liebermann and Lovis Corinth, or even Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and is a bold and creative work on the brink of abstraction. Reference: The Graphic Art of Onchi Koshiro, by E. Swinton.

$6,500.00

 

 

 

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90547. Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎. Kisetsuhyō 季節表 (Shibun-shū 詩文集). Tokyo: Aoi Shobō アオイ書房.Shōwa 10 [1935]. This copy is number 34 of only 50 deluxe copies from a total edition of 200. 3 full-page color illustrations by Onchi. Folio, 36 x 31 cm, printed on very heavy paper, bound in gilt-printed Japanese paper over boards. Besides the illustrations, Onchi wrote the poems in this collection of  “Signs of the Seasons” and was responsible for the book's design. The text reproduces his calligraphy. The book is signed by Onchi and contains a photogravure portrait of him. Interestingly, it is rendered a unique copy by the fact that Onchi further presented the book to a “Kawada Seiichi shi” (Shinshoku)  河田政一氏清嘱 and wrote a line of poetry dated 1936 on the signature page. Laid-in slip with Japanese transcription of signature page in pen includes a line of poetry; “空いよいよ、あをく” (Sora iyoiyo, A o ku) [which may be translated as: The sky grows more and more blue].

Since the printer never intended for these 50 deluxe copies printed on tori no ko paper to be read, each of the deluxe copies was accompanied by a hors commerce "reading copy" on Kyokushi paper 局紙 without illustrations. There were a further 200 copies of the so-called fukan 府刊 (supplementary) edition, also printed on Kyokushi paper, with only one of the Onchi's color prints. The combination we have here at hand is of the original pair of issues, deluxe and reading copy. This would seem to contradict theories (such as my own) that the first 50 copies of the "fukan" edition were meant as a reading copy for an identically numbered deluxe edition copy.

This is the deluxe and only complete edition of this work, being bound in hard covers and having all three illustrations Onchi designed for it. It is a tour de force of bookmanship, and the most elusive of Onchi's productions. 

Wear to front board and slight foxing throughout. Damage to front wrapper and dampstain and mold on top section of last 10 pages and rear wrapper of the reading copy.

$9,500.00

 

 

 

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90200. Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎, editor. A set of Shosō Magazine 書窓, 30 Volumes. c. Tokyo, Showa 10-19 [1935-44] Aoi Shobô. [700cc?]. 8vo. in size, wrappers. 30 volumes in magazine format of this, the premier journal in Japan dedicated to the book arts and graphics of its day, edited by the foremost artist and book designer, Onchi and filled with graphic and textual contributions by contemporary giants.

In the original magazine wrappered covers. Shosô had some 103 numbers, but the large majority were published in slender pamphlet format and we have here the more substantial magazines. Very scarce, especially in such a complete run of the magazine. Very good condition overall. Occasional splitting of spines but all the issues are complete.

At one point, we were advised that a magazine format #79 was missing from this set.... But checking other sets, we found they were also missing that number in magazine format. Checking with the newly catalogued set at the National Diet Library in Japan (they have catalogued 87 of the total of 103 total issues), it appears that #79 was not in magazine format after all, but rather one of the regular pamphlets Onchi issued when paper became scarce during the Pacific War. So all 30 magazine format works are included in this lot, as well as two pamphlet issues, Volume 5, number 2, and Volume 5, number 3, which provide an idea of what the non-magazine numbers consisted of. There are a few advertising and announcement postcards and the like for the magazine, included, as well. Important, unusual.

$6,500.00

 

  

 

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88836. Kitasono Katue 北園克衛, poet & Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎, artist. Shishû 詩集 Natsu No Tegami 夏の手紙. . Tôkyô, Aoi Shobô, Shôwa 12 [1937] Folio, 30.0 X 22.0 cm, #11 of 200 copies printed.

The binding, the typography, the illustrations, all combine as a fluid visual container for Kitasono's brilliant poems. Interesting to compare this work to the other collaboration (done by the same publisher a year later) of Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎 (1891-1955) and Kitasono Katue 北園克衛 (1902-1978), SABOTEN-TÔ. On an interesting side note, when Kitasono sent a copy of this book to his friend Ezra Pound, for whom he had obtained a lucrative position for the JAPAN TIMES as Italian correspondent, the latter confessed he could not even begin to read it (his Chinese was poor and his Japanese non-existent).

Kitasono Katue 北園克衛, born Hashimoto Kenkichi 橋本健吉 in 1902, came to age as an artist in Tokyo in the wake of the great Kanto earthquake of 1923. With an eye toward international art movements, he was influenced by all of the major -isms of the 20th century, and was at the forefront of the Surrealist movement in Japan. He was known for his poetry and later, “Plastic Poetry,” which conversely influenced the international Avant Garde community. His creativity spanned both poetic and visual art forms and he was known as a poet, photographer and graphic designer.

We refer you to the several works of John Solt, both translations and critical essays, as well as several exhibitions dedicated to Kitasono mounted here and in Europe, as well. See also the LACMA online ref accessed June 2021 https://www.lacma.org/art/exhibition/kitasono-katue-surrealist-poet

Fine condition, complete as issued. We can locate only two institutional holdings, the British Museum and Mount Holyoke College. We have handled a another copy of this work, which had a wraparound case, but research indicates that was not an original case, but was commissioned later, perhaps by the original collector. Complete and lovely.

$2,750.00

 

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90571. Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎. [Chūgoku Fūkei Chinese Landscape #6] [中国風景 6号]. [Oil Painting]. [1939]. Image size approx 41 x 32cm and frame size approx 54.5 x 45.5cm. Oil on canvas. Signed by the artist.

Oil painting of a landscape likely exhibited at the show, Onchi Kōshirō Shina Fūkei Gaten 恩地孝四郎支那風景画展 [Onchi Kōshirō Chinese Landscapes Art Exhibit] held at the Shinjuku branch of Isetan Department Store in October of 1939 when Onchi was 48 years old. (See “Gendai Bijutsu” 現代美術 [Modern Art] Vol 7-2.)

As were many other important Japanese artists during the Chinese conflict and Pacific War, he was sent by the armed forces in 1939 to record the war on the ground. Much like Yoshida Hiroshi, he captured both beauty and pathos in China as the war ground on.

 $12,000.00

 

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87937. Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎. Hakubutshushi Zuihitsu Shashin 博物誌-随筆・写真 . Tokyo, Genkôsha, Shôwa 17 [1942], 1 of 1500cc, Cloth, printed in silver ink, 27.0 x 19.4 cm. Very unusual work by Onchi, combining his written thought on natural forms with reproductions of his photography (depicting plants, insects, animals). Interesting, scarce. here internally very good, but without its dustwrapper or slipcase with a worn and starting cover and priced accordingly. [Urawa, p.51].

$485.00

 

  

 
 
 
 

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87930. OZAKI Kohachi, author. Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎. Komakusa こまくさ. Tôkyô,Shôwa 18 [1943]. Single sheet, 29.2 x 34.3 cm. Meant to fold in fourths as a simple species of "book" during the wartime shortage of paper. The lightly colored woodblock print by Onchi is some 11.0 x 15.4 cm. It was cut and printed by members of the Hanga Kurabu. Ozaki [1892-1974] had known Onchi for many years when he collaborated with him on this little illustrated poem, named after a species of mountain flower common to Japan. Extremely ephemeral. I can find no reference to it in either the English language or Japanese sources, nor does it appear in the Onchi print raisonne. It has, of course, been folded and then flattened again. Overall good condition, a good impression of the print.

$650.00

 

 

 

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86419. Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎, author. Kusa Mushi Tabi 草・虫・旅 [Grass, Insects, Travel]. Tokyo, Ryuseikaku, Showa 18 [1943] Small 12mo., bound Western-style, stiff wrappers. Publisher's slipcase. Near fine in original glassine. With textual illustrations by Onchi throughout, this is a journal of his "random thoughts" while travelling and thinking about nature, life, art and what it means to be an artist and author. An interesting work of this vitally important figure of 20th Century Japan. A record that deserves to be translated into English, if any does. A lovely copy of this book.

SOLD

  

 

 

 

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83318. Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎. Shikashû Anthology of Contemporary Japan Nihon no Hana - Shikashū [Flowers of Japan - Anthology of Contemporary Japan] 日本の花 詞華集 .. Tokyo: Hongakusha, Shôwa 21 [1946]. Another Hongakusha work, this one is edited by Onchi Kôshiro, and many of the lovely woodcut textual illustrations are by him as well. Other artists include the important Creative Print movement figures Kawakami Sumio, Kawanishi Hide and Maekawa Sempan. The poets include Satô Haruo, Kitahara Hyakushu and Onchi, himself. A tour- de-force and important work, good in the original woodcut printed wrapper (by Onchi).

$750.00

 

 

 

 

 

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87288. Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎, artist & MAEDA Sekibô, poet. Shinshō Fuji - Kashū 新頌富士 歌集 [New Praise, Fuji - Collection of Poetry], FUJI] Tokyo: Fugaku Honsha, Shôwa 21 [1946]. 28.7 x 20 cm. 2 full page color woodcuts designed by Onchi, 1 tipped-in page of printed calligraphy. Blue and white flexible covers, in a dustwrapper depicting Fuji which is also a print designed by Onchi. Dustwrapper lightly foxed and strengthened on reverse at center with a thin strip of paper that goes from head to heel. Onchi's designs are lovely. Very good. [See Sotheby's Schlosser Sale Item #302 for another copy; Hillier Vol. 2, p 1022].

$985.00

 

 

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82094. Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎, artist; Inoue Yasufumi, poet. Ume - Shishū 梅 詩集 [Ume - Collection of Poetry]. Fugaku Honsha, Shôwa 22 [1947]. #275 of 600cc, signed by Inoue, the author. 8vo, printed decorative wrappers, book designed by Onchi Kôshiro, frontispiece a woodcut designed by Onchi, as well. [Onchi Raissonne, #281, "Portrait of a Poet (Inner Image)"]. Wrappers foxed along perimeters and there is a bit of light foxing on the signed sheet, else clean and in very good condition.

SOLD

 

 

 

 

 

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81074. Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎, artist. A Framed Collection of Woodcut Illustrations. After the war, Onchi Kôshiro created a series of woodcut illustrations for a project involving the publication of a revamped classroom curriculum for Japanese students in the post-war era. For whatever reason, those designs do not appear to have been used - they do not appear in his catalog raisonné of prints and book illustrations. Though a series of edited and expurgated pre-war textbooks were employed immediately after the war, more permanent changes in the curriculum were not effected for several years. As this set of Onchi illustrations were designed to be used in a basic Japanese language book, it is possible that the extensive language reform after the war stopped the finalization and publication of the textbook at all.

In any event, the set has a few marginal notations which indicate page placement, etc., so the project must have proceeded to the mock-up level before being abandoned. There are 11 cuts in b+w with two having light coloration. Portraits of Tolstoy, Einstein, Lincoln and Franklin combine with landscapes, insects, children at play, etc. The images seem to be suffused with a gentle sadness - they certainly seem to capture the spirit of the times. Truly a lovely and important group. There is no way to overestimate Onchi's importance to 20th century Japanese print making. This experimental group of cuts is a tribute to his art and an accurate evocation of an age. Framed in a custom mat.

$1,850.00

 

 

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91002Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎, et al.. Hakubutsu-Fu 博物譜. Tokyo. Showa 35 [1950]. Small, oblong western-style book, printed, paper-covered boards with a leather spine 11.2 x 14.5cm. Number 44 of 200 [of 250] copies, signed and sealed by the editor, Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎 (1891-1955). This "Natural History Sketchbook" represents the first creative effort of the Ichimokukai 一木会, First Thursday Club, or, as the pun in Japanese implies, Best Prints Club, the print group around Onchi. Though designed during the early years of the Pacific War, it wasn't actually printed until 1949-50, in a small, limited edition.


There are five color woodcuts Sosaku Hanga prints by each of the five artists involved: Onchi created the animal prints, Yamaguchi Gen 山口源 (1896 - 1976) did shells, Sekino Jun’ichiro 関野準一郎 (1914-1988) - insects, Katō Tarō 加藤太郎 - trees and Sugihara Masami 杉原正巳 - flowers; 25 prints in all. Plus, there is a printed shita-e 下絵 (preparatory drawing) style design on the Contents page, and the Title page and covers are printed as well.

In near perfect condition in the original glassine in the original box with a printed paper label. This is an extremely important and handsome work from Onchi's school.

$2,250.00

 

 

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87615. Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎. Drawing - Gekkan Kyōto Mag 月刊京都. An original drawing and magazine printer's proof page, tipped onto a single sheet, 27.4 x 19.2 cm., along with a xerox of the illustration and article as printed in the magazine in 1951. The article was entitled "HAHA NO TERYÔRI" ["MOM'S HOME COOKING"] and the illustration is of a homely meal of tôfu, herbs and a chawanmushi, with Onchi's calligraphed caption. As is evident from the proof and the printed article, it was all quite faithfully reproduced. Charming and effecting evocation of a warmly remembered distant past, long before the war and the privations all around. A very nice and contextualized presentation.

$750.00

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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87363. Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎. Hon no Bijutsu 本の美術. 1952. Large 8vo., 135pp., hand- bound By Sei-ensô in decorated leather. This is one of only 5 copies so bound of the entire edition of 1500 copies. Illustrated mostly in b+w, but with color plates. This is Onchi's seminal work on book design (the title translates as "book arts"); it includes his opinions on book aesthetics and a catalogue of his own extensive output of book designs. There is a bit of scant light foxing to some text leaves, but the illustrations are clean. Housed in (the original?) handmade paper-covered clamshell box. This is an essential work by arguably the most important book designer of modern Japan.

$950.00

 

 

 

 

 

 


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85345. Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎. LOVING SERVICE SEAL HANGA. 28.3 X 21.2 CM. Tokyo: The Central Community Chest of Japan, Inc., (1953). The front and back covers of this pamphlet are color woodblock prints by Onchi. There is a text folder inside by Onchi enclosing 10 small woodblock print seals by the noted "Creative Print" artists Kitaoka Fumio and Shinagawa Takumi, each captioned on a separate sheet. Extremely unusual work rarely found in any condition but here complete and very clean. One of the last works issued by Onchi. About fine condition, fine impressions and colors.

$600.00

 

 

 

 

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41437. (ONCHI, Koshiro). KOSHIRO ONCHI, 1891-1955: WOODCUTS, July 11-Sept. 20, 1964. San Francisco: (Auerhahn Press), 1964. Exhibition catalogue, 8vo., white paper-wrapped stiff wrappers; 38 pp. Slight offsetting at front wrapper. Very good.

$50.00

  

 

 

 

 

 

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88951. Onchi Kōshirō 恩地考四郎, author & artist. UMI NO HYÔJÔ 海の表情. Tokyo, WKO Hanga Kenkyûsho, 1987. #9 of 20cc,, 42.7 x 37 cm. Portfolio of 17 prints and 20 poems on the topic "EXPRESSIONS OF THE SEA".

Established printmaker and book designer Onchi Kōshirō 恩地考四郎 (1891-1955) had designed this album during the war, but when he attempted to get it published after the war's end and had no luck, he abandoned the project. A few images from the carved blocks were pulled as an experiment and one, “Umi No Mieru Mado” [Window Open to the Sea], appears in the British Museum collection with an interesting explanation. (See link accessed June 2021 https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/A_1988-0315-0-75) In any event, long after his father's death, Onchi Kunio resurrected the project and printed the work in nearly complete form, as only 3 prints had remained unfinished. "Modern" as it is, its tiny limitation guarantees its place as one of the greatest rarities of the Onchi ouevre.

In fine condition, in a portfolio with a tan cloth-covered clamshell case. In the original publisher's cardboard box.

$5,850.00

 

 

Onchi Trade Bindings

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87511Shioda Rikizō 塩田力蔵, author and Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎, binding. Toji Kōgei no Kenkyū 陶磁工藝の研究 (陶磁工芸の研究) [Ceramic Crafts Research]. Tokyo: ARS アルス. Shōwa 2 [1927]. Small 8vo., 537+ pp. Two Table of Contents, each 8pp. 5 color and 102 black & white photo illustrations of vessels, plates, cups, statues and other ceramic objects. Blue green cloth, gilt and blindstamped, in the original printed publisher's slipcase. Good condition with a small spot on the front cover. Interestingly, this book is not included in the Onchi book binding raisonné, Onchi Kōshirō Seihon no Gyō 恩地孝四郎装本の業.


Besides the Onchi binding, an important and interesting book in its own right on ceramic art by the scholar Shioda Rikizō 塩田力蔵 (1864-1946), an expert in both Chinese and Japanese ceramics. Included in the photo section are dig sites and a portrait of German-born Dr. Gottfried Wagener (1831-92), a chemistry teacher, professor at the Arts and Crafts school in Kyoto and an expert in Western ceramic techniques. Dr. Wagener made significant contributions to the advancement of the glazing and firing of traditional Japanese ceramic arts during his 20+ years living there.

$185.00

 

 

 

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87519. Maeda Yūgure 前田夕暮, author and Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎, binding. Kenka Shokubutsu 顕花植物 [Phanerogamic Plants]. Kyoto: Jinbun Shoin 人文書院. Shōwa 11 [1936].1st printing, 5 page Table of Contents, 304+ pp. Small 8vo., Blue cloth with silver, fine in decorated dust wrapper. Japanese text throughout. The dust wrapper is a bit soiled and rumpled but quite marvelous. It is listed as #304 in the Onchi book binding raisonné, Onchi Kōshirō Seihon no Gyō 恩地孝四郎装本の業. Maeda Yūgure 前田夕暮 (1883-1951) was the author of the poetry anthology Kashū: Shinshō・Fuji 歌集 新頌・富士 from the same period, which Onchi illustrated and whose binding he designed, as well. The delicate colored abstraction on the dust wrapper and the tooled abstraction in the cloth cover are vintage Onchi.

 $185.00

  

 

 

 

 

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87516. Terao 寺尾新 and Honda 本田正次, authors and Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎, binding. Dōbutsu to Shokubutsu no Seikatsu 動物と植物の生活 [Daily life of Animals and Plants]. Tokyo: Shinchōsha 新潮社. Shōwa 18 [1940]. 1st printing, 287+ pp. [4] preliminary pps with photo reproductions of animals and plants. Small 8vo. Printed paper over boards, cloth spine, printed slipcase. Some toning. Lovely light and dark green botanical designs on the front and rear boards. Japanese text with black and white line drawings. Interestingly, not included in the Onchi book binding raisonné, Onchi Kōshirō Seihon no Gyō 恩地孝四郎装本の業, but appears on p.128 of Hon No Bijutsu 本の美術. This lovely illustrated “Daily life of Animals and Plants” was the seventh volume of the Shin Nihon Shōnen Shōjyo Bunko 新日本少年少女文庫, the New Japanese Library For Boys and Girls.

$165.00 

 

 

 


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87515. Koyama Itoko 小山いと子, author and Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎, binding. Kōya 高野 . Tokyo: Chūō Kōronsha 中央公論社. Shōwa 15 [1940]. 1st printing, 363+ pp. Small 8vo., Patterned paper over boards, printed slipcase. Browned, slight chipping to spine. Included in the Onchi book binding raisonné, Onchi Kōshirō Seihon no Gyō 恩地孝四郎装本の業 as #313 (though they do not illustrate the slipcase). Fictional work in Japanese text by the well regarded female author Koyama Itoko 小山いと子 (1901-1989), many of whose books were designed by Onchi

$145.00

 

 

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87513. Tsubota Jōji, author 坪田譲治 and Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎, binding. Tsuru no Onegaeshi 鶴の恩がへし [The Crane’s Gratitude]. Tokyo: Shinchōsha 新潮社. Shōwa 18 [1943]. 2nd printing, 288+ pp. Small 8vo. Printed wrappers. A retelling of the traditional folk tale Tsuru no Onegaeshi 鶴の恩がへし [The Crane’s Gratitude] in Japanese text illustrated with charming black & white line drawings throughout. Interestingly, not included in the Onchi binding raisonné, Onchi Kōshirō Seihon no Gyō 恩地孝四郎装本の業. Browned, good condition overall.

$150.00

 

 

 

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87512. Itō Einosuke 伊藤永之介, author and Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎, binding. Umi no Oni 海の鬼 [Sea Demon]. Osaka: Mishima Shobō 三島書房. Shōwa 22 [1947]. 255+ pp. Small 8vo., Printed wrappers. Japanese text throughout. Printed on very good quality paper. Very good condition. Interestingly, not included in the Onchi binding raisonné, Onchi Kōshirō Seihon no Gyō 恩地孝四郎装本の業. Itō Einosuke 伊藤永之介 (1903-59) was an important proletarian literary figure in Japan.

 $125.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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87514Tomizuka Kiyoshi 富塚清, editor and Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎, binding. Hikōki 飛行機 [Airplanes]. Tokyo: ARS アルス. Shōwa 29 [1954]. Small 8vo. Half leatheroid and marbled boards. Gilt. In the decorated publisher's slipcase. This is number 28, on hikōki 飛行機 (airplanes), from the series Nihon Idō Bunko 日本児童文庫 [Children’s Library of Japan]. Initial 8 pages of color and black and white photo illustrations. 17.6 x 12.6 folded booklet with a pink photo illustration of a KLM Airlines plane being cleaned by women in traditional Dutch costumes on the cover is laid in. This appears to be one of a series of newsletters from the Children’s Library of Japan and is dated March 31 of Shōwa 29 [1954]. Also laid in is a 14.1 x 9.1cm reply postcard from the same publisher in Tokyo.


Near fine copy. Though #35 from the series does appear in the Onchi binding raisonné, Onchi Kōshirō Seihon no Gyō 恩地孝四郎装本の業, this one does not. Illustrated throughout. An interesting little book.

 $185.00

 

 

 

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87518. Nagayo Yoshirō 長與喜朗 (長与善郎), author and Onchi Kōshirō 恩地孝四郎, binding. Sono Yoru その夜 [That Night]. Tokyo: Asahi Shimbunsha 朝日新聞社. Shōwa 23 [1948]. 1st printing, 6 page foreword, 337+ pp of Japanese text. 8vo., Decorated wrappers, printed slipcase, some browning to slipcase and cover, else good condition overall. Included in the Onchi binding raisonné, Onchi Kōshirō Seihon no Gyō 恩地孝四郎装本の業 as #321, also color illustrated in Hon No Bijutsu 本の美術, though neither reference shows the slipcase. Nagayo Yoshirō 長與喜朗 (1888-1961) had been a member of the Shirakaba 白樺 (White Birch) group since 1911 and was known as a representative of its characteristic humanism as an author and playwright. One of Onchi's better late bindings.

$165.00

 

 

 

 

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88936. ONCHI KOSHIRO, artist. CHU.GYO.KAI. 26.6 X 20.8 cm. #158 of 250cc. Aoi Shobô. A wonderful Onchi cover and 10 prints inside, illustrating his poem fragments. The combination of the abstract and the figurative is lovely and moving. Published during the war Showa 18 - 1943) in Tokyo, as part of the series SHOSO HANGACHO JURENSHU, it is very hard to find. This is a a clean, very good copy. Includes the original announcement for the JURENSHU series as published in one of the SHOSÔ magazine pamphlets. In a custom clasped chitsu case.

 

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90441.[SOSAKU HANGA] ONCHI, Kôshirô, artist & author. UMI NO DOWA. Tokyo: Hanga-sô, Shôwa 9 [1934]. Self-wrappers in glassine, with Onchi's text and accompanying 6 polychrome woodblock prints, the blocks of which were carved by him. Each print is a vortex of images with the female form as visual pivot. Onchi and his work need no introduction - he is considered the most important Japanese printmaker of the mid-Century and one of the most innovative and creative of all time. As a leader of the Sosaku Hanga Creative Print movement, he guided the development of many of the dominant figures of post-war art until his premature death in the 1950's.

UMI NO DOWA is a seminal work. This copy has scarcely any of the usual foxing. It is about fine, with the [original?] glassine. Certainly a most desirable copy of this high spot at the intersection of the Creative Print Movement and the Avant-Garde before the War.

SOLD