The Beginnings of Japanese Pastels - Tsurunosuke Takeuchi, Chiyoji Yazaki, and their Contemporaries

Meguro Museum of Art

poster for The Beginnings of Japanese Pastels - Tsurunosuke Takeuchi, Chiyoji Yazaki, and their Contemporaries
[Image: Chiyoji Yazaki "Marseille" (1925) pastel, paper, Meguro Museum of Art Collection]

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There are many artists who work with pastels and there have been since the Meiji Period (1868-1912). However, most of the works created to date have been on a small scale, classified as esquisses or types of sketches that focus on the unique qualities of pastels, which are faster to work with than oil paints in terms of application and drying out time, and can produce particularly subtle expressions of color. Pastels are also frequently used in combination with other painting materials to support other media. Consequently, the number of artists working specifically with pastels to create works that would not be achievable with any other medium is extremely limited. Tsurunosuke Takeuchi and Chiyoji Yazaki are among the few artists who have used pastels as their primary medium, and to this end they have established a dedicated following, their works considered as unparalleled by those of others.

The shared ground between Takeuchi and Yazaki, two artists whose backgrounds and styles differ greatly, is their parallel effort to advance the medium of pastels manufactured in Japan. During in the Taisho Period (1912-1926) and start of the Showa era, when the domestic manufacture of various items such as industrial products grew, pastels that had previously been imported from countries like France and Germany began being made domestically, and Yazaki, a trained painter, began teaching with them. While Yazaki worked to spread the popularity of these pastels, Takeuchi also played a key pioneering role. Focusing in the work of these two artists, this exhibition will consider what they learned from European pastel works in the process of establishing their very own uniquely “Japan-ized” approaches. It will also focus on the creation of the pastels themselves, considering the materials as an important element in the process of “Japan-ization.”


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from October 14, 2017 to November 26, 2017



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