The Art of Sadao Tsubaki and His Mentor Ryusei Kishida

Chiba City Museum of Art

poster for The Art of Sadao Tsubaki and His Mentor Ryusei Kishida

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Sadao Tsubaki, who was born in Yonezawa City in Yamagata Prefecture in the north of Japan, was inspired to become an artist by his older brother who passed away. In 1914, he traveled down to Tokyo to see Ryusei Kishida’s solo exhibition, where he happened to make acquaintance with the artist. Over the next 15 years, Tsubaki was involved in the formation of Kishida’s circle known as Sodosha. During this period he was also influenced by the empathy and humanitarianism of Saneatsu Mushanokoji and Yoshiro Nagayo, who founded Shirakaba (White Birch Society). Tsubaki became an artist without having studied formal painting techniques. Kishida was similarly self-taught, aside from the tutelage in Western-style art he received at Hakubakai studio, and from the time he met Tsubaki he began to create remarkably dense oil paintings based on his own unique ideas. In was in this context that Tsubaki himself learned how to paint.
Tsubaki’s painting style changed along with the shift in Kishida’s interest towards Eastern art that began around 1920 and led to home producing Japanese-style in paintings. Though Tsubaki initially hit a creative impasse in 1929 following the death of Kishida, he went on to inherit the approach to oil painting that his mentor had developed, employing this in his own method. The world that Tsubaki depicts is characterized by a mildness rooted in the civic life of modern Japan, while being based on traditions from Eastern-style painting. From 1927 Tsubaki lived out the rest of his life and career in Funabashi City.

This exhibition making 60 years since his death is held in the Boso region where Tsubaki lived the majority of his life. It will present his paintings alongside those of Kishida, whose approach is indispensable when thinking about the former’s work. Stencil dyed works by Tsubaki’s second daughter, Natsuko Tsubaki (1926-2004), which she exhibited together with her father’s work at Kokuga-kai (national exhibition) events as of 1951, will also be introduced.

[Related Events]
Workshop: Create a tote bag using dye as paint
Use specialist paper to create a stencil cutout that you can use for producing your original design on a tote bag.
Date: July 2 (Sun) 13:30-16:30
Venue: 11F Auditorium
Capacity: 15 (for Junior High School Students and Over)
Admission: ¥700 (inc. materials)

Gallery Talk by the Curator
Date: June 7 (Wed) 14:00-

Gallery Talk by Volunteers
Date: Every Wednesday throughout the exhibition period (excluding Jun 7) 14:00-
*Talks will sometimes be held on other weekdays from 14:00-
*Talks may be cancelled when the venue is crowded
*Please see the official website for further details.

*All events in Japanese.


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from 6月 07, 2017 to 7月 30, 2017



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