Kamesuke Hiraga

Japanese 1889-1971




Breaking away from traditional Japanese printmaking form, Kamesuke Hiraga was just a teenager when he left Shima to study painting at the San Francisco Art College in 1906. Later moving to Paris, Hiraga studied printmaking at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts where, in 1915, he became the first Japanese student to win the Grand Prize.


Spending much of his life in both Europe and America, Hiraga made use of his undeniable talent for painting and printmaking to demonstrate his fascination with the people and the landscapes of his travels. Yet, despite his foreign training, there is something of his own rich heritage of printmaking that shines through in Hiraga’s unique approach to soft ground etching.


Combinations of mastery and personal style are what make certain artists highly collectable long after their time. Still popular in France, Hiraga’s work hangs in the famous Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris. Not forgotten at home, his work is featured in the Bridgestone Museum of Art, Japan. And, as recently as 2006, to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of Kamesuke Hiraga’s journey to America, his paintings and prints were displayed at a special exhibition at Jingu Chokokan Museum, Ise.