Takehisa Yumeji Biography

TakehisaYumeji (1884-1934) A painter and illustrator whose wistful depictions of the human figure, particularly of frail, languishing young women, were enormously popular in the years just prior to the Great Earthquake, Yumeji had no formal art training.  At his father's insistence, he had entered business school, but when the poetry and paintings he had done on the side brought him unexpected recognition, he was able to leave school and become a full-time artist. Yumeji's interests extended beyond painting and illustration to literature and all the arts and crafts. In 1914 he established a shop, the Minato-ya, which carried a whole array of elegant objects, ranging from letter paper to fans and scarves, many of which Yumeji himself had designed. The shop soon attracted a sophisticated clientele and became something of a gathering place for Tokyo's more progressive artists, Onchi's Tsukubae group was invited to hold an exhibition there soon after the shop opened. Though the Minato-ya lasted only two years, it represented an important phase in Yumeji's life, and many of his prints date from this period and carry the Minato-ya seal. Yumeji did not do his own carving or printing, but he apparently supervised every stage of the process. The blocks for many of his earlier prints were carved by Igami Bonkotsu, and the printing was done by Hirai Koichi.  
Numerous prints have been made from Yumeji's paintings since his death. Though some of these, especially some done by Kato Junji, are quite handsome, they should be distinguished from those done during Yume-ji's lifetime under his direct supervision.