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Artwork by Sadao Watanabe

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About the Artist

Sadao Watanabe was born in Tokyo in 1913. As a youth, he became severely ill with tuberculosis. Influenced by his schoolteacher, he vowed to study the Bible, convert to Christianity and spread the Christian faith through his artwork, if he should recover. Watanabe studied under Soetsu Yanagi and Keisuke Serizawa. He specialized in traditional forms of stencil printing which were originally used for printing fabric. He developed his own unique style of applying ink through stencils onto handmade mulberry paper, which is soaked in water and crumpled before printing begins. In 1947 he was awarded first prize from the Japan Folk Art Museum; and in 1948, the Kokugokai Prize. and his works were exhibited in the Modern Print Show at the 1972 Winter Olympics, Sapporo, Japan. A one-man show was held at the Portland Art Museum in 1962 and Watanabe taught printmaking in Oregon as a visiting artist in 1969-70. In 1976, at the invitation of the Lutheran Church, he visited America again. He had a one man show at the Grace Cathedral, San Francisco in 1977. In 1981, received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Linfield College, Oregon. Artwork by Sadao Watanabe can be found in numerous collections including the New York Museum of Modern Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Honolulu Academy of Arts, the British Museum, National Museum of Art in Tokyo, Japan and the Vatican Museum of Modern Religious Art.