Artist: Nakao Yoshitaka
Title: Woman Holding a Black Cat
Date: published 1971
Size: oban approx. 11.75" x 15.75" including margins
Condition: VG, mat line from previous framing, minor soils and handing, pencil notation at bottom; signs of previous framing on verso
Impression: VG, solid color, nice surface texture, tight registration
Color: VG, deep saturated color and bleed through to verso
About Nakao Yoshitaka
Nakao Yoshitaka was born in 1911 in Ehime Prefecture. He was a mostly self-taught printmaker, although he did some work with Azechi Umetaro. Yoshitaka became well respected in Japanese print-making circles after he won awards at Kokugakai ("National Picture Association") exhibitions in 1949 and 1956. Yoshitaka is known for using cement-blocks to print his images, a technique characterized by pouring wet cement into hand-made wooden frames and then scoring into the mixture as it dried. This medium dominated his oeuvre until 1955. Later, he used woodblocks in a more conventional manner, although often with oil-based pigments, and he did not abandon his cement prints. Yoshitaka's use of cement-paste in printmaking is akin to the technique found in the better known works of Haku Maki.
Some of Yoshitaka's designs were large in scale. An untitled woodblock print from 1957, with oil pigments and scored cement paste and measuring 840x560 mm, depicts a standing, monolithic female figure with one arm wrapped around her head, the other encircling her chest. It has been reproduced in several books. The Graphic Society of New York published his prints on three occasions in the 1960s. Yoshitaka's works are included in the collections of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and the Fine Arts Museums of SF (Achenbach Collection, Legion of Honor).