Tokuriki Tomikichirô (1902-2000 徳力富吉郞) was born in Kyoto. He graduated from the Kyoto City School of Fine Arts and Crafts and the Kyoto City Specialist School of Painting in 1924. He also studied nihonga (Japanese-style painting: 日本画) at the private school of Tsuchida Bakusen (1887-1936) and with Yamamoto Shunkyo (1871-1933). From 1929 Tokuriki focused on mokuhanga (block prints: 木版画), and he also actively promoted sôsaku hanga ("creative prints": 創作版画) in Kyoto. He published many sets and series before World War II, and afterwards established the Matsukyû (末詳) Publishing Company to produce and distribute his prints and through its subdivision, Kôrokusha (紅録社), to publish self-carved and self-printed hanga as well as works by other artists such as Kotozuka Eiichi (1906-1979), Takahashi Tasaburô (1904-1977), and Kamei Tôbei (1901-1977). For much of his long life Tokuriki taught many artisans and artists, some of them non-Japanese, and he traveled extensively, thus his influence was significant in the world of hanga. He is perhaps best known to Westerners through his many print designs in the shin hanga ("new prints": 新版画) manner for various series published by the three main Kyoto firms — Uchida, Unsôdô, and Kyoto Hanga-in. His self-carved, self-printed sôsaku hanga, such as the example we are offering here, are highly valued by collectors and curators. The artist recognized this dichotomy, saying, "I'd rather do nothing but creative prints, but after all, I sell maybe ten of them against two hundred for a publisher-artisan print."
For more about this artist, see Tokuriki Tomikichirô Biography.
This design demonstrated, according to Tokuriki, an "inclination toward ukiyo-e." However, he must have also known the numerous shin hanga beauties sold domestically and internationally, as the chromatic potency and portrait style of his print are reminiscent of some of those works.
There were various editions of this portrait. There was an edition where the background is orange and the blouse pink, as in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (65.1118) and another with an orange background and a violet blouse in Los Angeles Ciunty Museum of Art (M.79.176.87 gift from Juda Collection). These might be the earliest impressions. The red background done in 100 impressions (as in our example) can be found in the Honolulu Museum of Art (inv. 26377). Moreover, even later printings were published by the firm Matsukyû [末詳 (まつ九)], the publishing house Tokuriki set up after World War II. There are also imressions with Tokuriki's publishing house Kôrokusha (紅録社), a subdivision of his Matsukyû publishing venture, indicated in the margins. This second company was formed by Tokuriki and his fellow artists Kamei Tôbei (亀井藤兵衛 1901-1977), and Kotozuka Eiichi (琴塚英一 1906-1979).
The impression offered here is from the limited edition of 100, signed and numbered in pencil, and in exceptionally fresh and fine condition.
Prints by Tokuriki are in the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya; Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; Brooklyn Museum, NY; Carnegie Museum of Art;Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Five College Museums/Historic Deerfield Collections; Harvard Art Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago; University of Alberta Art Collection; Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro; and Yale University Art Gallery.
- Fujikake, Shizuya: Japanese Woodblock Prints. Tokyo: Tourist Library 10, Japan Travel Bureau, enlarged and rev. ed., 1949.
- Merritt, Helen: Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: The Early Years. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1990, pp. 88-92.
- Smith, Lawrence: Modern Japanese Prints 1912-1989: Woodblocks and Stencils. London: British Museum Press, 1994, p. 36 and no. 50.
- Statler, Oliver: Modern Japanese Prints: An Art Reborn. Rutland: Tuttle, 1956, pp. 118-122, 126, 199; nos. 72-73.
- Tokuriki, Tomikichirô: Woodblock Printing. (trans. Arimatsu Teruko) Osaka: Hoikusha Publishing Company, 1968, p. 64.
- Zehnder, Amanda (intro.): Modern Japanese Prints: The Twentieth Century. Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Museum of Art, 2009, pp. 174-177.