One Cherry 一つのさくらんぼ

HAMAGUCHI Yozo 浜口 陽三

A ladybug, a cherry, a watermelon, a lemon, a pomegranate, a butterfly, and grapes――such small objects from our everyday life are portrayed in Yozo Hamaguchi’s prints. He seals these objects within the small space of copperplate print, eliminating unnecessary lines to simplify the form and turning them into a striking image with vivid colors. Still life in subtly toned yellow, red, or green, when it is set against the backdrop of deep, rich black, takes on an extraordinary sense of presence. Hamaguchi’s works present such highly condensed existence inside the small picture, employing the technique of color mezzotint which the artist developed himself. Mezzotint is a variation in intaglio copperplate originally invented in Germany. Using a tool called rocker or cradle (berceau), small incisions are made on the surface, which are then flattened or burnished to create delicate tones. After mastering the technique by himself, Hamaguchi started around 1955 to experiment in multicolor printing. This requires a complex process in which four plates for each colors of yellow, red, blue, and black are engraved based on careful calculation for the final effect in color and shades, and then the print is made, from the lighter colors to darker ones, while the ink from the previous plates remain wet. This delicate process demands both superb technical control and very acute senses. This red of the cherry, the yellow of the lemon, or the green of the grapes produced in this way are accumulations of subtle colors, and their complexity creates in our eyes a flickering effect, like that of a candle light in darkness. Hamaguchi introduced color and light into the somber world of Mezzotint. His achievement has won him many prizes at important international exhibition including the Bienal de Sao Paulo, and hi is now widely recognized as a master of copperplate print.
Collection of
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
One Cherry
Artist Name
Material / Technique
35(Height)×30(Width) cm
Ed. essai(画面外左下)
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Accession number

Other items of Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (5506)