Hakutei Ishii Biography

Ishii Hakutei (1882-1958)  
Born in Tokyo as the eldest son of the nihonga painter Ishii Teiko. Family name Mankichi. After dropping out of school he became a block carver trainee at the printing offices of the Finance Ministry. He was a student of Asai Chu, and made Western-style paintings for the Meiji Bijutsukai ('Meiji Fine Arts Society'). He also excelled in the more traditional nihonga. In 1905 he gave up his studies of Western-style painting at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts. His 'Paretto nikki' ('Diary of a palet') was serialized in the magazine Myojo as well as the articles that he contributed to the magazine Heitan. In 1907 he launched together with Yamamoto Kanae and Morita Tsunetomo the magazine Hosun. In 1910 Hakutei produced the print series 'Twelve views of Tokyo'. The carver was Igami Bonkotsu. The same year he went to Europe. In 1914 he challenged the traditional mode of production by self-carving and self-publishing his print 'Kiba'. In 1921 Hakutei became a member of the Teikoku Bijutsuin. In 1922 he, together with a.o. Yasui Sotaro founded the Issuikai. He also wrote three art related books: Oshu bijutsu henro ('Art pilgrimage in Europe'), Nihon kaiga sandaishi ('Record of three generations of Japanese paintings') and Hakutei jiden ('Autobiography of Hakutei'). Ishikawa Toraji (1875-1964)  
 
Source, Newland, Amy Riegle, The Female Image, Hotei Publishing, 2000  
 
Ishii Hakutei(1882-1959) Though a key figure in the early years of the sosaku hanga movement, Ishii's own print production was relatively limited. He was primarily a painter, and it is as a painter one of the country's most accomplished Impressionists, in fact for that he is best remembered in Japan. He was the son of a prominent nihonga artist from whom he learned to paint at such an early age that he was taking part in exhibitions in his teens. Later he studied with one of the country's leading Western-style painters, Asai Chu, and by 1904, when he enrolled in the Tokyo Art School, he was already creating work that was strongly influenced by the Impressionists.  
Ishii was a man of many talents, being a poet and essayist as well as painter and printmaker He seems to have been of an unusually open, generous nature. Attracting friends readily Ishii often took the lead in joint undertakings. He was the guiding spirit be-hind Hosun (published 1907-1910), the little magazine modeled after Jugend, and took an active part in the informal gatherings of the so-called "Pan Group". His involvement in selecting the illustrations for Hosun and supervising their print-ng seems to have stimulated his interest in the expressive possibilities of the graphic arts. The illustrations, which were handsomely produced, included many lithographs and woodcuts. It was probably through his work with Hosun that Ishii met the block carver Igami Bonkotsu. Ishii's Tweive Views of Tokyo, for which Bonkotsu carved the blocks, was announced in one of the last issues of Hosun, (Actually, only two of the 12 views were completed at the time.)  
 
In 1910 Ishii left for Europe. During the trip and for a year or so after his return, Ishii seems to have been totally absorbed in painting. In 1914 he became one of the group of dissident artists who formed the Nikakai, a kind of "Tokyo Secession," to provide an alternative exhibition to the Bunten, which had become increasingly conservative. His interest in printmaking seems to have revived at the same time. Log Rafts (Lumberyard), the only print, by the way for which Ishii himself carved the blocks, dates from the same year By 1916, he was working with Bonkotsu on more of the Twelve Views (only nine were ever completed). He was also beginning the most ambitious print project of his career the Nihon Fukei Hanga ("Scenery of Japan in Prints") series, in which several of his friends from the Hosun days collaborated: Morita Tsunetomo, Hirafuku Hyakusui, Sakamoto Hanjiro, Kosugi Misei, and Ishii's brother Tsuruzo. Ishii himself illustrated three of the ten sections, which were published over the period from January 1917 through early 1920, This most ambitious of Ishii's print projects was also his last. The remainder of his career was devoted to painting.  
 
Ref: Jenkins, Donald,  "Images of a Changing world, Japanese Prints of the Twentieth Century" Portland Art Museum 1983-84 Exhibition catalog.