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Kaii Higashiyama exhibition 2018 (Tokyo)

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  • Higashiyama Kaii
    Retrospective 1908 – 1999

    24 October – 3 December 2018
    National Art Center, Tokyo

     
    This exhibition will be held to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the birth of Kaii Higashiyama, a highly-acclaimed postwar nihonga (Japanese-style painting) artist and one of Japan’s most favourite painters. He is particularly known for his nature paintings imbued with deep spirituality.

    The retrospective will delve into the art of this great artist through a total of some 80 works that include his classics such as “Road”, “Afterglow” and “Vibrant Green”, as well as his landscape paintings depicting Scandinavia, Germany and Kyoto.

    A highlight of the exhibition, the paintings of Toshodai-ji Temple, which took him 10 years to complete and made him a worldly renowned artist, will be reproduced at the museum.

    《道》   1950年、東山魁夷、東京国立近代美術館蔵
    Road》1950, Higashiyama Kaii, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo


    Kaii Higashiyama (1908 – 1999)

    He was born Shinkichi Higashiyama in Yokohama in 1908. Higashiyama is his family name, and Kaii is the pen name he later adopted. Higashiyama studied nihonga at Tokyo School of Fine Arts. After graduation in 1939, he travelled Europe for a short period and studied Western art history at the University of Berlin for 2 years.

    Passing through hardship before and after the Second World War, he eventually established his painting style. He had his first major success in 1947 when the “Afterglow” won the first prize of the Nitten, the most prestigious art competition in the country.

    His landscape paintings depicting natural beauty have touched the heart of many people.

    《緑響く》  1982年、東山魁夷、長野県信濃美術館 東山魁夷館蔵
    Vibrant Green》1982, Higashiyama Kaii, Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum / Higashiyama Kaii Gallery

    《残照》 1947年、東山魁夷、東京国立近代美術館蔵
    Afterglow》1947, Higashiyama Kaii, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo


    Highlights of the Kaii Higashiyama exhibition

    Nordic countries

    After traveling to Scandinavia in 1962, he completed a series of works painting the Nordic landscape, with a limpid, mystical touch.

    《冬華》1964年、東山魁夷、東京国立近代美術館蔵
    Winter Flower》1964, Higashiyama Kaii, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo


    Ancient capital Kyoto

    Higashiyama was commissioned to produce a painting to hang on the wall inside the Imperial Palace, and he went to Kyoto in search of ancient Japanese motifs. In 1968, the same year as the completion of the large painting for the Palace, he also realized “Four Seasons in Kyoto”.

    《花明り》  1968年、東山魁夷、株式会社大和証券グループ本社蔵
    Bright Cherry Blossoms》1968, Higashiyama Kaii, Daiwa Securities Group Inc.


    Germany and Austria

    In 1969, he visited Germany and Austria, bringing about paintings of the townscape and buildings of these countries.


    Folding screens and sliding doors of Toshodai-ji Temple

    He was commissioned to produce paintings for the Mieido Hall of Toshodai-ji Temple in Nara, where the statue of the Chinese monk Ganjin (“Jianzhen” in Chinese), the founder of the temple, is placed.

    It took him 10 years to complete, in 1971, the paintings on folding screens (byobu) and sliding doors (fusuma), which represent landscapes of Japan and the monk’s home country China.

    In this exhibition a total of 68 panels of these paintings will be reproduced and displayed.

    唐招提寺御影堂障壁画のうち、《山雲》(部分)、1975年、東山魁夷、唐招提寺蔵
    Toshodaiji Miei-do Murals [sic]: Mountain Clouds (detail) 1975, Higashiyama Kaii, Toshodaiji

    唐招提寺御影堂障壁画のうち、《濤声》(部分)、1975年、東山魁夷、唐招提寺蔵
    Toshodaiji Miei-do Murals [sic]: The Sound of Waves (detail) 1975, Higashiyama Kaii, Toshodaiji


    Nature

    The artist was now over 70 years old and extremely busy as a popular artist. For him painting became like praying. The scenery he painted was no longer from Japan nor abroad, but a deep expression of his inner world.

    《行く秋》 1990年、東山魁夷、長野県信濃美術館 東山魁夷館蔵
    Passing Autumn》1990, Higashiyama Kaii, Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum / Higashiyama Kaii Gallery

    《白い朝》 1980年、東山魁夷、東京国立近代美術館蔵
    White Morning》1980, Higashiyama Kaii, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

    《夕星》 1999年、東山魁夷、長野県信濃美術館 東山魁夷館蔵
    Evening Star》1999, Higashiyama Kaii, Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum / Higashiyama Kaii Gallery

* The above is the information known at the time of publication and subject to change without prior notice.

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