Yamguchi, Kaoru

1907-1968

An important painter, whose vision and significance in modern art continue to be recognized and appreciated well beyond his unfortunately short career, Yamaguchi was born in 1907 in Takasaki and died in 1968.

 

Traditionally, Japanese artists painted in watercolor. A retrospective of Yamaguchi’s works at the National Museum of Art of Tokyo, in 1971, shed new light upon his artistic merit and illuminated for the Japanese painter an entirely new potential with oil on canvas.

 

Yamaguchi applied Japanese sensibility to the painting of Western art. He received his diploma from the Department of Occidental Art at the Fine Arts Academy of Tokyo in 1930, and almost immediately thereafter ventured to Europe, focusing upon Paris to acclimate himself to the temperament of artistic currents of the Western painters. He remained there three years, studying the art of the French post Impressionists and refining his understanding of the oil medium.

 

Upon his return to Japan, he created with friends the “New Age Group” and rejoined the Association of Liberal Artists to share his ideas. In 1950, he left their company to form with well noted artists Masanari Murai, Rokuro Yabashi and others the first Association of Modern Art of Japan, and pioneered the interweaving of impressionism and abstraction into the Japanese art form.

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