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The Print Generation - National Museum of Asian Art

The Print Generation

An abstract print of geometric color fields—purple, blue, gray, and white—with a dark, irregular line bifurcating the image and a black-and-white eye in the upper right quadrant.
  • Dates

    November 16, 2024–April 26, 2025

  • Location

    Arthur M. Sackler Gallery | Gallery 25

  • Collection Area

    Japanese Art

In the early decades of the twentieth century, a new generation of print artists broke from existing traditions in Japanese printmaking. While the labor of print production was historically divided among different craftspeople, these ambitious artists sought to reinvent the medium by undertaking all aspects of a work’s creation—designing, carving, and printing—themselves. This new approach to printmaking became known as the sōsaku hanga (creative print) movement, and the resulting artworks are often rough, raw, and unique to each artist’s developing techniques and abilities. Some of the most active practitioners of this new style joined the Ichimokukai, or “First Thursday Society,” organized by Onchi Kōshirō (1891–1955), whose members met on the first Thursday of every month from 1937 until Onchi’s death.

Living through imperialist expansion, wartime scarcity, and foreign occupation, these artists sought international recognition for works that captured their individualism and self-expression amid a changing world. The Print Generation presents a selection of creative prints that challenged the dominant narrative of what it meant to be an artist in twentieth-century Japan. Highlights from the Kenneth and Kiyo Hitch Collection and the Gerhard Pulverer Collection illustrate the development and evolution of the sōsaku hanga movement as well as the international reach of these artists and the depth of their relationships to each other.



Generous support for this exhibition and the museum’s Japanese art program is provided by

  • Mitsubishi Corporation
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