08. October - 04. December 2016 Tokyo


Enbu (Dance of Flames) Gyoshu Hayami, Important Cultural Property (1925)
Black Peonies, 1934, Yamatane Museum of Art
TNM Image Archives, Maiko, Apprentice Geisha of Kyoto, 1920, Tokyo National Museum
Round Moon (Last Work), Reiyukai Myoichi Collection

The Destruction and Creation of Nihonga

In 2016, Yamatane Museum of Art celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of its founding. It opened in July of 1966 as Japan’s first museum dedicated to Nihonga, the traditional Japanese art form, based on the collection of Yamazaki Taneji (1893-1983). Taneji, acting on his conviction of “what is transmitted through a painting is the artist's humanity,” built close friendships with artists while collecting their works.

Hayami Gyoshu (1894-1935), a Nihonga artist active mostly active during the late Meiji period, died quite young; while he and Taneji were contemporaries -with just a year’s difference in age -they never actually met. Taneji loved Gyoshu’s work, however, acquired it at every opportunity. In 1976, the Yamatane Museum of Art acquired 105 paintings by Gyoshu from the Ataka Collection, bringing its Gyoshu holdings to a total of 120 works. Since then, it has been nicknamed the 'Gyoshu Museum'. The exhibition, commemorating the museum’s fiftieth anniversary, presents major Gyoshu works from each period, showcasing a total of 80 paintings, some of them from other collections. This exhibition offers a retrospective on his whole career, during which he kept climbing towards the challenging goal of innovating in Nihonga, striving to achieve a new mode of expression.

The exhibition begins with Gyoshu’s student years, when he was influenced by Imamura Shiko, a more senior student at their painting school, and continues with his pursuit of realism, inspired by the Western-style artist Kishida Ryusei and by Western painting. It explores his attempt to define a new Nihonga, in paintings like his masterpiece Dancing in the Flames that has been declared Important Cultural Property. It also presents his rendering of the human figure, on which he concentrated after a stay in Europe and the ink bird-and-flower paintings of his last years.

Spanning his entire career, this exhibition brings together works from Taneji’s collection as well as other Japanese collections for the first time in twenty-three years. The exhibition will be open to visitors from 8 October – 4 December 2016 at the Yamatane Museum of Art in Tokyo.



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