SUNDAY

Un’ichi Hiratsuka moved to D.C. in 1962, but in a sense he’d left Japan years before. This small show of the printmaker’s work—on view from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, to Sunday, Sept. 12—includes a depiction of a castle with unmistakably Japanese gull-wing parapets, as well as scenes from Kyoto and Nara, those neighboring outposts of traditional shrines, temples, and gardens. Yet these vignettes are not rendered with the delicate line and rich color characteristic of Japanese art. In fact, only two of the exhibit’s pieces are in color at all, and both of those were made in the ’20s, before Hiratsuka developed his mature style. His later work stresses power and simplicity, and is the product of what the artist once called his “search for greater strength and a feeling of solid mass.” Although his subjects are Japanese in their serenity, Hiratsuka’s forceful style recalls German expressionism; it’s easy to imagine it being used to portray the striving masses rather than Mount Fuji—or, as in his later prints, the Key Bridge, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Library of Congress (pictured). (The artist died in Washington in 1997 at age 102.) “You might say I do my drawing with my knife,” Hiratsuka said, and these prints do indeed seem pared to their essence. In observance of Father’s Day, the printmaker’s daughter, artist Keiko Hiratsuka Moore, will discuss Hiratsuka’s work and demonstrate his printmaking technique at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 20, at the National Museum of American Art, 8th & G Sts. NW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (Mark Jenkins)

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