Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Needle In The Hay

Our long dry spell at the thrift store was happily ended by a sweet find last week. While looking for frames we spotted a cute little woodcut of a girl with some birds in a nice frame. It was not priced so when we went to inquire the lady said “Um, I don’t know, $1.50!”.  Around here when things are not priced they usually won’t sell it to you but Focus Flea is especially nice! She was not counting the art (which she obviously thought was junk) and just the frame. (plus I think she was just being nice because we were the only ones in there) So we bought it.  The back of the frame had a little piece of paper from the 60’s that told a bit about the artist and the print. Turns out our little print was by Kaoru Kawano, a very famous modern Japanese woodblock artist, and the print should have cost around a $250 (it is unsigned, but an actual impression from his block) The  monetary worth doesn’t really matter, since we love it, but it was exciting to find out about this really great Japanese artist  via a thrifting trip.  I also got a nice dress and a skirt. All of the profits from this thrift store benefit our local Focus women’s resource center. Score!

Kaoru Kawano was born in Otaru, Hokkaido in 1916, and studied at Kawabata art school in 1934. Because his earlier works showed such great promise, they were displayed at the Nihon Hanga Kyokai Exhibition (Japan Print Society) in 1944. He interrupted his print-making activities to join the army, but later was unfortunate to become a prisoner of war in Siberia. In 1949 he resumed exhibiting with Nihon Hanga Kyokai, and subsequently with Kokugakai in 1952. He moved to Tokyo in 1958, and participated in international competitions and solo exhibitions in New York, Seattle, Chicago, and elsewhere. His works are characterised by highly textured abstract representations of children.

biographical information taken from this collector's great website on Kawano: