Meet Kumataro Ito's Work

May 4, 2016

In early 20th centuries, color photography had not yet been invented, and only an artist could capture the vivid, ephemeral colors of fresh-caught fishes and other marine organism. Kumataro Ito, a Japanese fish artist (a resident in Tokyo) was selected to be the principal scientific illustrator for the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries Steamer Albatross during the Philippine Expedition from 1907 to 1910 (Kumataro Ito, Japanese Artist on Board the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries Streamer Albatross During the Philippine Expedition, 1907-1910. Marine Fisheries Review, Fall, 1999, Springer V.G.; http://vertebrates.si.edu/fishes/albatross/ito_illustrations.html .)

 

There were more than 120 of his original fish sketches and paintings stored at Smithsonian and I had a chance to see some of his work. The color was still vivid and his remarks of old-style Japanese were still visible on the thin rice paper that he used for the preliminary sketches! Those were amazingly beautiful.

 

His work inspired me so much. I shall do some fish drawings in my spare time :D

 

 

 

 

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