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Hamaguchi Yōzō is regarded as a master of the mezzotint process. After a few years of study in Tokyo to become a sculptor, he left for France. Among the friends he met there was the American poet E. E. Cummings (1894–1962), who gave Hamaguchi a set of mezzotint tools. Intrigued, Hamaguchi taught himself the mezzotint technique, which at that time was considered obsolete. The advent of World War II in 1939 forced him to go back to Japan, but upon his return to Paris in 1953 he began winning awards for monochrome prints. He later developed a color process as well.
Hamaguchi would inspire many other artists, in Japan and in the West, to take up mezzotint printmaking.
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