Collection: Ohara Koson prints


Master of Japanese Bird and Flower Prints

Koson Ohara (also known as Shoson or Hoson) was an acclaimed 20th century Japanese artist known for his kacho-e (bird and flower pictures). With exquisite detail, muted color palettes, and deep respect for nature, Koson elevated the kacho-e genre into the modern era.


(1877 - 1945 )
Born in Kanazawa as Matao Ohara, Koson began studying painting under the Shijo school master Kason. Around 1900, he became a teacher at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts. There he met American collector and scholar Ernest Fenollosa, an admirer of Japanese art.

Around 1905, Koson started producing woodblock prints. Encouraged by Fenollosa, who was curator at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Koson began exporting his prints to American collectors.

From 1900-1912, while dabbling in landscapes and war prints, Koson's passion remained bird and flower prints. His early works featured soft colors and narrow formats, published by Kokkeido and Daikokuya. All were signed "Koson".

After 1912, Koson changed his name to Shoson and focused on painting. But in 1926 he returned to prints, now working with publisher Shozaburo Watanabe. Around 1930 he collaborated with Sakai and Kawaguchi, signing works "Hoson".

Koson used many names over the years, making dating difficult. His prints saw various editions with color variations. Today, Koson's prints and paintings are housed in major museums worldwide, including the Freer Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and Metropolitan Museum of Art.