Japan art and Miki Suizan (1887-1957)
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The Japanese artist Miki Suizan (1887-1957) was born in Hyogo Prefecture during the Meiji Period. However, the art in this article concerns the Taisho Period and the early Showa era.
Suizan studied under Takeuchi Seihō (1864-1942). His teacher was a famous artist connected to the art school of Maruyama-Shijō. Thus he imbued Suizan with his wealth of experience, a sense of romanticism, and creativity.
The British Museum says, “Little information is recorded of this ‘Nihonga’ artist, who was born in Hyogo Prefecture and studied under Takeuchi Seiho (1864-1942) in Kyoto. He exhibited at the usual government-sponsored ‘Nihonga’ exhibitions, such as the Bunten and its successor the Teiten. In 1924 he designed two sets of woodblock prints published by Sato Shotaro, one of six beauties and one of eight landscapes. All of these were included in the first Toledo Exhibition in 1930. According to Kato, he also produced a series of ‘Eight Views of Snow Viewing’ after the Pacific War.”
Suizan witnessed extremely momentous changes within Japanese history. However, unlike the militarism of many nations in this period – where empires would come and go internationally – from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the Ottoman Empire and the demise of Japanese imperialism – the art world in Japan was extremely dynamic. Therefore, the old world of ukiyo-e, rinpa, Kano, Tosa, and other angles of Japanese art that flourished before modernity – would now be challenged by Western artistic ideas and fusions between both worlds.
Suizan’s famous art pieces often concern bijinga (beautiful ladies) in the delightful style of nihonga style. Of course, he produced exquisite landscapes and other forms of art.
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