Nakagawa Isaku (中川伊作), 1899-2000, born in Kyoto, was a painter, printmaker, and potter. He graduated from the Kyoto Shiritsu Bijutsu Kôgei Gakkô (Kyoto City School of Fine Arts and Crafts) in 1918 (studying with Kikuchi Keigetsu, 1879-1955) and the Kyoyo Shiritsu Kaiga Senmon Gakkô (Kyoto City Specialist School of Painting) in 1921. Nakagawa was involved in the formation of the Kyoto Sôsaku-hanga Kyôkai (Kyoto Creative Print Society: 京都創作版画協会) in 1929 and was a member of Nihon Hanga Kyôkai (Japan Print Association, founded in 1931) starting in 1932. His prints of women issued in the 1930s are admired for, among other things, the accuracy of their gestures and the fashionable textile patterns. Nakagawa also produced images of fish (see NKG01) as well as landscapes and portraits. Overall, Nakagawa's prints have survived in very few impressions, suggesting that his editions were rather small.
For more information, see Nakagawa Isaku Biography. and John Fiorillo's webpage Nakagawa Isaku.
This image falls within the centuries-old tradition of depicting women attending to their makeup and hair. Such visions often serve as a voyeur's delight, affording glimpses into the private moments of the beauties from each era immortalized in the printed sheets of paper.
There is a known impression with an additional artist seal, but our print matches the impression in the The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (東京国立近代美術館).
Prints by Nakagawa Isaku are in the collections of the Harvard Art Museums; Honolulu Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.
- Catalogue of Collections [Modern Prints]: The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (Tokyo kokuritsu kindai bijutsukan shozô-hin mokuroku, 東京国立近代美術館所蔵品目録). 1993, p. 180, no. 1705.
- Uhlenbeck, Chris; Reigle-Newland, Amy; de Vries, Maureen: Waves of renewal: modern Japanese prints, 1900 to 1960. Leiden: Hotei Publishing, 2016, pp. 273-274, nos. 234-235.