Japanese Western-Style Painting
The Meiji, Taisho, and Showa Periods
Kuroda Seiki studied painting in France in the Meiji Period (1868 – 1912). Returning to Japan in 1893, he brought with him the style of painting that represented the vivid colors of outdoor light. When the Western Painting Department of the Tokyo Fine Arts School was established in 1896, Kuroda was appointed lecturer. He taught the techniques of outdoor light representation and of painting nudes and traditional Western subjects. After Kuroda, Fujishima Takeji and Okada Saburosuke, both of whom also studied in Europe, taught at the Tokyo Fine Arts School and set the foundation for modern Western-style painting in Japan.
Against a backdrop of liberal thought in the Taisho Period (1912-1926), painters explored possibilities of individual expression. Kishida Ryusei and Murayama Kaita experimented with color and creative expression under the influence of post-Impressionism, although their access to the European trends was only through magazines and books.
Japanese artists who studied in France and interacted with the avant-garde painters in Paris returned to Japan introduced new art trends and contributed to the development of Japanese Western-style painting through to the Showa Period (1926 – 1989).
Kuroda Seiki, The Fields, oil on canvas, 1907
Okada Saburosuke, Kimono with Iris Pattern, Oil on cardboard mounted on canvas, 1927
Kishida Ryusei, Portrait of Reiko Sitting, oil on canvas, 1919
Sekine Shoji, Three Heads, oil on canvas, ca. 1919