Seven Masters: 20th-Century Japanese Woodblock Prints Opens February 6

Press Release

For Release Monday, December 9, 2019
Click here to download a pdf of this press release.

Utah Museum of Fine Arts:  Mindy Wilson,  801.581.7328,
International Arts & Artists: Christie Chang,  202.338.0680, 

Japanese print from Seven Masters at UMFA. Natori Shunsen, The Actor Ichikawa Sadanji II as Narukami, 1926, woodblock print, ink and color on paper with mica and embossing. Published by Watanabe Shōzaburō. Photo: Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Seven Masters: 20th-Century Japanese Woodblock Prints Opens February 6

What was once old is new again—how shin hanga brought ukiyo-e woodblock prints
into the modern age.

One of two UMFA exhibitions devoted to Japanese art this spring                                                                                        The Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City is pleased to announce Seven Masters: 20th-Century Japanese Woodblock Prints, an exhibition showcasing a new art form (shin hanga) developed by a small group of artists in response to Japan’s rapid Westernization and industrialization. Shin hanga mingled the old with the new, creating beautiful, enticing pictures that were widely reproduced as prints of almost unsurpassed quality.

The first major traveling exhibition of Japanese art at the UMFA, Seven Masters is on view from Thursday, February 6 through Sunday, April 26, 2020. The exhibition was organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) and toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC. An exhibition preview and talk by curator Andreas Marks, head of the Japanese and Korean Art Department at Mia, are scheduled for Wednesday, February 5. See attached sheet for details and a complete list of programs. Download Seven Masters press images here.

The UMFA will also present Beyond the Divide: Merchant, Artist, Samurai in Edo Japan, an exhibition of scrolls, screens, sculpture, prints, and samurai armor and weapons from the Museum’s own collection of Japanese art, on view in a major presentation for the first time in more than a decade. Beyond the Divide, organized by UMFA associate curator of collections and antiquities Luke Kelly, also opens February 6 and is on view through Sunday, July 5, 2020. Download Beyond the Divide press images here.

Both exhibitions are sponsored locally by presenting sponsor George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, conservation sponsor McCarthey Family Foundation, and programming sponsor Gift in Memory of Hayden H. Huston. With additional support from the Ann K. Stewart Docent Conservation Fund and the University of Utah Asia Center. The UMFA is funded in part by Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts & Parks (ZAP).



As the once-isolated nation of Japan entered the 20th century and began to assimilate a new, Westernized culture, demand for certain traditional handicrafts fell off significantly—among them, the iconic woodblock prints known in the West as ukiyo-e. Publishers and artists slowed production and created fewer new designs. Yet what seemed at first to be the death-knell of a unique art form without parallel in the world turned out to be the dawning of another, as the path was cleared for a new kind of print: shin hanga.

The exhibition Seven Masters: 20th-Century Japanese Woodblock Prints focuses on seven artists who played a significant role in the development of the new print, and whose works boldly exemplify this new movement. Drawing from the superb collection at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the exhibition features the spectacular beauty portraits of the artists Hashiguchi Goyō (1880–1921), Itō Shinsui (1898–1972), Yamakawa Shūhō (1898–1944), and Torii Kotondo (1900–1976); striking images of kabuki actors by Yamamura Toyonari (Kōka; 1886–1942) and Natori Shunsen (1886–1960); as well as the evocative landscapes of Kawase Hasui (1883–1957). These multi-talented artists were all successful painters as well, but this exhibition looks exclusively at their unrivaled work in print design, and includes a cache of pencil drawings and rare printing proofs to offer insight into the exacting process of woodblock printing.



Dr. Andreas Marks is the head of the Japanese and Korean Art Department at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. From 2008 to 2013, he was the director and chief curator of the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture in California. He has a PhD from Leiden University in the Netherlands and a master’s degree in East Asian Art History from the University of Bonn. A specialist in Japanese woodblock prints, Marks is the author of 14 books; his Publishers of Japanese Prints: A Compendium is the first comprehensive reference work in any language on Japanese print publishers. In 2014 he received an award from the International Ukiyo‐e Society in Japan for his research.

US tour dates for Seven Masters: 20th-Century Japanese Woodblock Prints are as follows: Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, UT (February–April 2020); Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, MT (September–December 2020); Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Laurel, MS (May–August 2021); and the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC (September–December 2021). 



Home to more than 90,000 works of art representing 5,000 years of world history, the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) inspires wonder, spurs creativity, and nourishes the imagination. With extraordinary exhibitions and one of the finest wide-ranging art collections in the country—Rembrandt to van Gogh, Monet to Matisse, Asian to African—Mia links the past to the present, enables global conversations, and offers an exceptional setting for inspiration.   

International Arts & Artists in Washington, DC, is a nonprofit arts service organization dedicated to increasing cross-cultural understanding and exposure to the arts internationally, through exhibitions, programs and services to artists, arts institutions and the public. Visit


The Utah Museum of Fine Arts is located on the University of Utah campus in the Marcia and John Price Museum Building at 410 Campus Center Drive. The UMFA's mission is to inspire critical dialogue and illuminate the role of art in our lives. For more information call (801) 581-7332 or visit