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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Shikō Munakata: A Way of Seeing

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Japan Society / New York / Art

The artist Shikō Munakata grew up in Aomori, a city in northern Japan, where his father was the local blacksmith. Born in 1903, the third of 15 children, Munakata was 17 when his teacher showed him a copy of Vincent van Gogh’s Still Life: Vase with Five Flowers. In that moment Munakata decided he would be the “Van Gogh of Aomori.” Though his medium was woodblock printing rather than paint, you could say his dream came true. He is esteemed as one of the 20th century’s most prominent artists. At the Japan Society, 100 pathbreaking Munakatas are on view. Along with woodblock prints there is calligraphy, sumi ink painting, lithography, and ceramics. Japan Society is home to the largest Munakata collection in the United States. —E.C.

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