Morikazu Kumagai “The Joy of Life”

The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

poster for Morikazu Kumagai “The Joy of Life”

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Kumagai Morikazu (1880-1977) is widely recognized for a style that is distinguished by bright colors and distinct forms. His later works, depicting familiar living things like flowers, insects, and birds, are especially loved by people of all ages. At first sight, these works look humorous and seem to have been created with great ease. But in tracing back Kumagai’s over 70-year career, it becomes clear that he actually experimented with many different approaches, making paintings to see how things could be seen in the dark and developing a process to use the same design in multiple works. The reason Kumagai’s flowers and birds have such a lifelike appearance is due to the artist’s ingenuous means of dealing with color and form. Concealed within his works are an observational ability akin to that of a scientist and an elaborate production method.
This retrospective, the first to be held in Tokyo in many years, sheds light on the artist’s creative process with more than 200 paintings, sketches, diaries, and documents. During his long 97-year life, which began in the Meiji Period and continued late into the Showa Period, Kumagai experienced a variety of hardships including poverty and deaths in the family. Yet he single-mindedly devoted himself to his work and, even at the age of 95, said, “I hope to live forever.”

Isao Takahata Animation Screening
Date: Feb. 24 (Sat) 14:00–15:30
Tickets passed out from 10:00 on first-come basis.
In Japanese. Please see the official website for details and information on more events.



from December 01, 2017 to March 21, 2018
Until 20:00 on Friday and Saturday. Closed on Mondays, except for Jan. 8 and Feb. 12. Closed for winter holidays from Dec. 28 (Thu) to Jan. 1 (Mon). Closed Jan. 9 (Tue) and Feb. 13 (Tue).



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