Masuo IKEDA - 池田満寿夫

1934 - 1997
Japan's leading printmaker of the 20th century

Born in 1934 in the former Manchuria, he moved back to Nagano with his parents at the end of the war.
After graduating from high school in 1952, he moved to Tokyo to become a painter. He took the entrance exam to Tokyo University of the Arts, but failed to enter. Around that time, he met Ay-O, and through him met Ei-Q and Sadajiro Kubo. Ei-Q founded the Democrat Art Association at that time and was a very influential leader of young artists. Kubo was also the leader of the "Creative Art Education" movement, a collector of prints, and an art critic. Encouraged by Ei-Q to create prints, Ikeda began to communicate with the participating artists of the Democrat. Although Ikeda only participated in the Democrat's last exhibition, he continued to communicate with print artists based in the Kansai region, such as Shigeru Izumi and Hideo Yoshihara, even after the group disbanded. With Kubo's support, Ikeda's printmaking became more and more active.
After the war, Japan recovered it's national strength and organized the first international exhibition, the Tokyo International Print Biennale in 1957, with the prints from all over the world, including Japan. Izumi won a prize at this exhibition, and many of the members of the association were selected for prizes.
However, Ikeda and other young artists awakened to the possibilities of prints and continued to exhibit their works, most notably in a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York in 1965, where they rubbed shoulders with Pop artists of the same generation, including Jasper Johns, Jim Dine, and David Hockney. The following year, Ikeda won the International Grand Prize for Printmaking at the Venice Biennale, and his work was catapulted into the limelight through a series of awards and solo exhibitions in countries around the world.
From the late 1960s to the 1970s, he was based in Europe and New York, and after moving to Japan in the 1980s, he expanded his activities to include ceramics, bronzes, and calligraphy, and his Rimpa-inspired "Return to Japan" series.
Meanwhile, in 1977, he won the 77th Akutagawa Prize for his novel "Aegean Dedication," and the following year he wrote the screenplay and directed the film adaptation.
He passed away on March 8, 1997 at his home in Atami City, Shizuoka Prefecture. He was 63 years old.

Masuo IKEDA - Japan's leading printmaker of the 20th century