A self-described dilettante, Koshiro Onchi (1891-1955) is credited as a pioneer of abstract Japanese art, but has – until now – been far better appreciated overseas than in his home country. The National Museum of Modern Art's extensive retrospective, the largest Onchi exhibit ever held in Japan, is aiming to change this state of affairs with a display of 62 of the print-making revolutionary's finest pieces. Assembled from museums including the British Museum, Chicago's Art Institute, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Honolulu Museum of Art, the works are representative of Onchi's commitment to the sosaku-hanga movement of the early 20th century, which emphasised the centrality of self-expression and went from a minor, upstart group to being appreciated as the 'ukiyo-e of the 20th century'. The show features both Onchi's early, realistic works and more abstract pieces, to which the Tokyo-born artist turned to circumvent wartime censorship.
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