Paintings Go Motion! - Seitaro Kitayama and Artists in Taisho Era -
[Image: Toyosaku Saito "Colors of Autumn" (1912)]
This event has ended.
In the years stretching from the late Meiji era(1868-1912)into the early Taisho era(1912-1926), interest in European art grew in Japan. This interest extended across many movements from the previous 50 years, including the Impressionism of Cezanne, Monet, and Renoir; the Post-Impressionism of van Gogh and Gauguin; Futurism; and even 20th century avant-garde movements such as the Cubism of Picasso. Some young Japanese painters of Western-style paintings(Yoga)went abroad to study, but many others gathered information by acquiring and borrowing magazines and books and by attending exhibitions of reproductions and prints. Using whatever information they could obtain on the Western art of the era, these artists attempted to introduce new perspectives into their visual expression and gain public acceptance for their experimental works. Such developments in the world of Western-style painting led to the birth of a continuous stream of new works, which had never before been seen in Japan.
The young artists of the time faced various problems related to finding places to exhibit their work, obtaining information, and procuring money to live on, but Seitaro Kitayama contributed to the development of modern art in Japan by providing support behind the scenes. Kitayama is considered one of the three key figures in the pioneering days of animation in Japan, but initially he served the Yōga movement by supporting the activities of Western-style painters such as Ryusei Kishida and Shohachi Kimura. He went on to edit and publish the art magazine, Gendai no Yoga(Contemporary Western Painting), while actively working to introduce Western art and the works of artists of that era. He also sold paint, held competitions, and promoted interest in Western-style painting. Likening his support to that provided to van Gogh and other young Parisian artists by Père Tanguy, owner of a paint shop in Paris, grateful artists came to call him Père(which means Father)Kitayama.
Introducing Seitaro Kitayama as our starting point, this exhibition will examine Japan’s enthusiastic interest in Western art in the Taisho-era, as well as the avant-garde trends in Japanese modern art that were affected by that interest. Around 130 works of various mediums, such as oil painting and sculpture, will be on display, including the pieces of Western masters which young artists of the time wished to see, as well as the art they created under the influence of those works.