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Ito Shinsui (1898-1972)
Ito Shinsui was one of the great names of the shin hanga art movement, which revitalized the traditional art after it began to decline with the advent of photography in the early 20th century. Shinsui was born in the Fukagawa district of Tokyo. After unwise investments bankrupted his father's business, he was forced to drop out of elementary school in the third grade, and became a live-in apprentice at a printing shop. It was in this manner that he became interested in printing techniques, and also in the arts.

In 1911, Ito was accepted as an apprentice under Kaburagi Kiyokata (who give him the pseudonym of "Shinsui") and issued his first woodblock print the following year. His talent was soon apparent, and the from the following year, his paintings were entered in public exhibitions. In 1912, his works were first shown by the Tatsumi gakai (Southeast Painting Society) and later works were displayed by the Kyodokai ('Homeland Society'), the Nihon bijutsuin ('Japan Art Institute'), and in the government sponsored Bunten show. His works were received with much praise by critics, and his reputation was soon made. 

As with most artists of the shin hanga movement (notably Hasu), Shinsui was spotted by publisher Watanabe Shozaburo who effectively monopolized the market. Shinsui came to be known as a specialist in the bijin-ga  ("beautiful women") genre, although he also occasionally painted landscapes. Watanabe and Ito continued their business cooperation into the 1960s, with Watanabe exporting Shinsui's prints to Europe and America, generating great success for them both. 

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