The artist Clifton Karhu was born in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1927. From 1946 until 1948 Karhu was stationed as a US soldier of the occupation forces in Japan - his first encounter with the country and its people. After his military service he began his art studies at the Minneapolis School of Art where he graduated in 1952. Karhu came back to Japan, this time as a missionary. But he soon became disillusioned selling bibles door-to-door.

Clifton Karhu decided to stay in Japan and establish himself as an artist. In the beginning he did mostly paintings and watercolours. Then he discovered the technique of Japanese woodblock printmaking. Karhu became pretty successful as a moku hanga artist. 

This set (12 months) was published in the 1960’s in a men’s magazine. It takes two of these rare copies to complete a presentable set. With a wink to Japanese Shunga but quite presentable as happy, inspring bedroom decoration. He did some very serious Japanese printmaking too. 

If you like the prints of Karhu: see also the works of German printmaker Claus Dechert who also dedicated his life creating prints the Japanese way and becoming successful at it.