African mask

Artist: Hiratsuka Un'ichi 平塚運一 (1895-1997)
Historical period(s)
Showa era, 1978
Colors on paper
H x W (image): 26.9 × 23.8 cm (10 9/16 × 9 3/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Patricia Lyons Simon Newman
Freer Gallery of Art Study Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


Japan, mask, Showa era (1926 - 1989)
Provenance research underway.

Hiratsuka Un'ichi was a crucial representative of the so-called "creative print" (sōsaku hanga) movement. Sōsaku hanga artists sought to elevate print-making--a craft that traditionally involved an established chain of manufacture with multiple agents involved--to the fine arts. Drawing from the U.S.-European understanding of the term, the fine arts required production by a single artist--as opposed to a workshop or a production chain--who made artworks from beginning to finish with their own hands. This artistic immediacy represents itself emphatically in the rough textures and often black-and-white compositions of early sōsaku hanga artists. In many ways, Hiratsuka is the embodiment of sōsaku hanga artists' success to reposition printing among the fine arts. In 1935, he became the first professor of print-making at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts, now Tokyo University of the Arts, a major step in putting prints on par with painting and sculpture.

Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
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