Kanae Yamamoto was born in Okazaki, and when he was ten years old, he began to study under Gyoun Sakurai who owned a wood-block printing studio. Later, he changed his mind and decided to become a painter, and entered the Western-style painting department of Tokyo Fine Art School. After graduating from this school, he created an art magazine, named "Hosun", together with Hakutei Ishii and Morita, and using this magazine as their base, promoted original prints activities. At that time, the process of prints had been divided into several steps and special artisans were used for each step, such as engraving and printing. What Kanae Yamamoto and other members tried to due via original prints using this "Hosun" magazine was to heighten the value of prints to the level of the value of oil and Japanese paintings, by having one artist perform all these different steps from the beginning to the end, as well as creating an original design. Just as a painter chooses paints and brushes which are the most suitable for his painting theme, Yamamoto thought that an engraver should produce a painting by engraving a wood block using chisels, and he coined a word To-ga chisel painting to express this belief.
After returning frorn France, to complete "A Bretonne", Yamamoto redrew his original sketch drawn during a trip to Bretagne while he was staying in France, and he made repeated wood-block prints. In his original sketch, people hanging fishing nets were drawn in the background, but he deleted them and simplified the scenery of the sea and created a clear picture formation. Also, its color tone, based on chic blue and black, has a sense of unity, thereby superiorly expressing the innocence of a simple Bretagne girl.
(Source: Selected Works from the Collection of Nagoya City Art Museum, 1998, P. 95.)


  • Title: Bretonne
  • Creator: Kanae Yamamoto
  • Date Created: 1920
  • Physical Dimensions: 36.3×28.4 cm
  • Provenance: Purchased in 1986
  • Type: Woodcut
  • Rights: Nagoya City Art Museum
  • Medium: color woodcut on paper

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