da/from
14 Dec 07
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27 Jan 08

Chimei Hamada

The donation to the Department of Prints and Drawings of the Uffizi

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The exhibition is designed to present the recent donation to the Department of Prints and Drawings of a series of contemporary engravings. More specifically, this consists of nineteen prints by the still living Japanese artist Chimei Hamada, one of the most famous engravers in his country. Since the mid Sixties Hamada has entertained intensive relations with the city of Florence, and in 1965 he was welcomed into the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno, being awarded the title of Honorary Academician in the Engraving Class. From October of the previous year up to November 1965 the artist had been living in Europe, establishing his residence in Paris but visiting various other European capitals. He also came to Florence, where the Uffizi Gallery and the Department of Prints and Drawings became his favourite haunts. Recognition was not long in coming, followed by monographic shows in prestigious venues such as the Albertina of Vienna and the British Museum in London.
His career is surprising in that, to some extent, it is the reverse of the normal “curriculum” of the engraver, ratified by a European tradition established as far back as the time of Maso Finiguerra: Hamada did not arrive at painting but took off from it. He graduated from the Fine Arts School of Tokyo in 1939 with a specialisation in oil painting, and did not begin engraving on copper until 1950, when he was already thirty. Then, in the middle of the Nineties, he began to turn his attention to small bronzes.
The donation consists largely of works created in the Fifties and Sixties. This was a crucial period in Hamada’s career, nourished by his personal experiences of the war – the series “Elegy for a New Conscript”, executed between 1950 and 1954, is considered one of the artist’s supreme achievements – which came together with previous experiences matured in the description of themes connected with death.
Mindful of ineluctable precedents in the history of European engraving, from Rembrandt to Goya, in his prints – which are not all focused on war and death but are often subtly pervaded by irony and fabulous elements - Hamada passionately transfuses a concrete and consistent commitment to the technique of engraving.



Promoters
  • Gabinetto dei Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi
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