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CLIFTON KARHU            Japan/USA  1927 - 2007

Originally from Minnesota, USA, Clifton Karhu moved to Japan later in life,  taking up classic traditional courtyard residences in Kyoto and in Kanazawa, He became an accomplished woodblock printer,  a great print master whom many called "more Japanese than the Japanese" producing prints of traditional Japanese subjects but using strong assertive colours in a distinctively contemporary style, Especially rare was that he carved his wooden blocks  in the centuries old traditional manner not only designing his prints, but mastering the meticulous cutting and printing process which the Ukiyo-e masters left to their assistants. Karhu's work is distinguished not only by the images themselves, but by the whole story and personality behind them. It is inspiring to think that a foreigner could have become so involved and well respected in contemporary arts so closely related to traditional arts, and could be so successful at living in Japan, being accepted as a respected member of the local community and art world. Since Mr. Karhu’s death, of course, his works have risen in price as supply shrinks. They are truly compelling works, speaking volumes about the importance of traditional arts and culture, traditional environments and timeless atmosphere maintained through such a genuine appreciation of classicJapanese architecture and landscapes.