Chihiro Iwasaki

Chihiro Iwasaki was a painter whose lifetime theme of her works was children. She was able to differentiate between a 10 month-old baby and a 1-year old without a model. Through her powers of observation and by mastering the ability to sketch, she painted images of children in various scenes. Chihiro Iwasaki’s works were products of accumulated sketches of children which she made as a mother raising her own child. Her unique watercolor paintings using blurring and shading off methods share a common technique with traditional Japanese ink paintings (suibokuga). This apparently resulted from the influence she received in her youth from the works of Fujiwara Kozei which she thoroughly studied.

Chihiro Iwasaki who experienced war during her youth left behind the words “Peace and happiness to all the children in the world.” The children and flowers Chihiro Iwasaki portrayed continue to speak of the glow of life and the importance of peace.

Chihiro Iwasaki 1918-1974

Born in Takefu City (present Echizen City), Fukui Prefecture and raised in Tokyo. Graduated from Tokyo Prefectural Sixth Girls’ High School. Studied Fujiwara Kozei-style works, and studied art under Saburosuke Okada, Tai Nakatani and Toshi Maruki. In 1946, joined the Japan Communist Party. Married Zenmei Matsumoto in 1950. In the same year, published a picture-story show entitiled“Okasan no Hanashi (The story of a Mother)”and received the Minister of Education Award. In 1951, gave birth to firstborn son, Takeshi. In the following year, built a home and atelier in Shimoshakujii (Nerima-ku, Tokyo). Received the Shogakukan Children’s Culture Award in 1956, Sankei Children’s Book Award in 1961 and the Bologna Children’s Book Fair Graphics Award in 1973 for “Kotorino Kuru Hi (The Pretty Bird)”(Shikosha) in 1973. Died of liver cancer in 1974 at age 55. Approximately 9500 of her works remain. Her main works include “Ofuro de Chapuchapu (I love bathing )” (Doshinsha), “Ameno hino Orusuban (Staying Home Alone on a Rainy Day)” (Shikosha), and “Senka no Naka no Kodomotachi (Children in the Flames of War)” (Iwasaki Shoten).

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