Seiu Ito

~ 1882 - 1961

Seiu Ito, also romanised as Seiyu Itoh, was a Japanese painter, recognised today as "the father of modern kinbaku"

Ito was born Hajime Ito in Asakusa district and started his education in painting by 1890. His father was a metalworker and he also received training in ivory carving, later sculpture. He adopted the alias Seiu (Sino-Japanese reading of kanji for words 'clear' and 'rain') at age 13.
Around 1907, he began working for newspapers.

Ito hired a young art school model named Kise Sahara in 1919. Kise became Ito's second wife after she got pregnant and posed willingly for her husband.

Ito became the target of censors in 1930, which led to draining of his fortunes and he lost his works at the Great Tokyo Air Raid. As an artist, Ito was very interested in kabuki and other ways of the Edo periodand his book An History of Edo and Tokyo Manners was published after the Kanto earthquake (1923)

His technique for depiction of Edo period tortures was to bind his model in various ways, have the photographs taken, and use them as inspiration for his paintings. A notorious exploit of such kind was binding his pregnant wife Kise and have her suspended upside down for a drawing imitating the ukiyo-e The Lonely House on Adachi Moor in Michinoku Province by Yoshitoshi.

3 albums/41 artworks

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Karen Smits

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