Japanese Woodblock Print, c.1960, self published by Kiyoshi Saito, signed in ink in the image, seal on verso in margin
SIZE IN INCHES: 11 x 16.5 inches
KIYOSHI SAITO (1907-1997) was born in Fukushima prefecture. In 1924 began his career as a sign painter for store fronts eventually developing it into a successful business. His love of art inspired him to sell his business and move to Tokyo in 1932, where he studied Western-style painting at the Hongo Painting Institute. While exhibiting his oils, he began making woodblock prints by cutting and printing progressively from a single block. By 1937 he focused on only woodblock prints and in 1938 he produced the Winter in Aizu series depicting the area where he lived as a child. In 1943, he met Onchi, which led to membership in the Nihon Hanga Kyokai (Japanese woodblock association). After WWII he exhibited with Un-ichi Hiratsuka and Hide Kawanishi in Tokyo. It was at this exhibition that he sold his first print.
In 1948, he exhibited at the Salon Printemps, and in 1951 received first prize for Steady Gaze at the inaugural Sao Paolo Bienniale. This event brought the modern school of Japanese prints to prominence. Saito was featured in Statler's, Modern Japanese Print: An Art Reborn (1956), and visited the U.S. in 1956 under the auspices of the State Department and the Asia Foundation. From that year onward, Saito exhibited widely throughout the U.S. and Europe. In 1967 he made a woodblock print of Prime Minister Eisaku Sato for the cover of Time Magazine. In his later years he moved on to figurative, Buddist, and the buildings and culture of Kyoto as his subjects.
Saito died in 1997 at the conclusion of a major retrospective in Tokyo.