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Verne Gallery - A Gallery of Japanese Prints and Paintings
You are here > Online Catalog > Sadao Watanabe > Artist Biography

b. 1913 - 1996 Tokyo

Sadao's art prints look like a combination of modern Western art, Japanese folk art and old Buddhist painting. And this is what they actually are. Watanabe had learned over many years as an apprentice the technique of traditional stencil dying as used for kimonos in Okinawa, called katazome.

Later the young man studied under Serizawa Keisuke (1895-1984) and under Yanagi Soetsu (1891-1961). Yanagi Soetsu was a leading member of the Japanese folk art movement, founded by Yamamoto Kanae in the late 1920s and 1930s.

The Japanese folk art movement had been influenced by the political changes in Russia and the theory of socialism. It was looked at suspiciously by official Japanese authorities and never gained any broad public momentum. But it has influenced modern Japanese art considerably.

Watanabe had learned from Serizawa Keisuke the old, traditional technique of Japanese stencil printing, called kappazuri. This method was originally limited to cloth dyeing. Serizawa Keisuke had adapted it to be used with rice paper to produce art prints.

Sadao's prints look very distinctive. He developed his very own style that can be recognized immediately. At first sight the designs look naive. But they are not really, and you will recognize it when you go deeper and look at his works a bit closer.

Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts in San Francisco
Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sidney, Australia
Art Institute of Chicago
Museum of Fine Art Boston
British Museum
Carnegie Museum
Cincinnati Museum of Art
Folk and Craft Museum Tokyo
Honolulu Academy of Arts
Museum of Modern Art in New York (Moma)
National Museum of Art in Tokyo

Three Wisemen



adam and eve

moses and meribah

the nativity

Flight Into Egypt

Three Kings

Verne Collection - A Gallery of Japanese Prints and Paintings
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