20% off ALL museum membership levels through June!

As a member of the Cincinnati Art Museum, you will enjoy special discounts, invitations to exclusive exhibition openings and events, get advanced information on what is new at the museum, discover the excitement behind the scenes and receive many other excellent benefits. Join now!


Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Kōsaka Gajin Backing Removal

by Conservation


behind the scenes , conservation , paper conservation , works on paper , Prints and Drawings


This winter the Paper Conservator has had the privilege of working on a group of Japanese prints by Kōsaka Gajin, an innovative artist whose work combined the traditional woodcut technique of earlier Japanese artists with the bold gestures of post-World War II Abstract Expressionism. Kuromon Gate of the Mansion of Prince Takamatsu, printed in black sumi ink on Japanese paper had been glued to an acidic brown western paper. A negative image of the design has formed on the backing paper because the black ink protected some areas from light, but the uninked areas discolored from exposure to light coming through the print (photograph below left). After removing the bulk of the backing paper (photograph below right), the remaining fibers are being carefully scraped away with the print held flat on a suction table. This print will be on view for the first time in Transcending Reality: The Woodcuts of Kōsaka Gajin (1877-1953) from February 11 to May 7, 2017.



Image Credit: 1986.1440, Kuromon Gate of the Mansion of Prince Takamatsu, Kōsaka Gajin (1877-1953), woodcut on paper, 1950, The Howard and Caroline Porter Collection