Art of Japan and homage to Maurice Utrillo: the Hidden Soul

Art of Japan and homage to Maurice Utrillo: the Hidden Soul

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The French artist Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955), just like the British artist L.S. Lowry (1887-1976), are two of the most predominant artists to hail from France and the United Kingdom in the twentieth century. Of course, internationally, Utrillo is more famously known but this shouldn’t distract from the individualism of Lowry. Therefore, with the contemporary Japanese artist Sawako Utsumi adoring Lowry and Utrillo, then she often pays homage to the stunning art that they created.

In this article, the focus is on Utrillo and his amazing cityscapes that appeal so much to Utsumi. According to Utsumi “you can feel a hidden soul in what should be mundane in the art of Utrillo.”

Utsumi is alluding to the countless cityscapes produced by Utrillo because these art pieces are not based on creating a dramatic and false impression. On the contrary, Utrillo focuses on reality and natural settings. Despite this, you can “feel a hidden soul.”

Indeed, when viewing the art of Yuzo Saeki (1898-1928) you can often feel his pain within the art he produced. This alludes to his serious health issues and the alienation he felt while painting in Paris. After all, not only was Saeki far from the land of the rising sun but also, equally important, his deteriorating health and cultural alienation weighed heavily on Saeki. This reality created a sense of alienation, fear, despair and other negatives within the magnificent art of Saeki.

However, despite Utrillo also suffering from bouts of ill health throughout his life and alienation when younger, it is hard to see this within his cityscapes. Ironically, the different realities of Saeki and Utrillo appeal greatly to Utsumi. Therefore, this contemporary artist from Sendai focuses on creativity, fusions, passion and aspects of chaos even when not always visibly clear.

I comment in a past article about Utrillo, “In his younger days Utrillo had a rebellious spirit in relation to studying and issues related to alcoholism. At the same time, he suffered from mental health issues from an early age. Therefore, by the age of 21, his mother opened his eyes to a much greater extent towards art in order to help Utrillo fight back against mental health issues.”


Intriguingly, while Utsumi isn’t blighted by either alcoholism or mental health issues that infringed negatively on Utrillo, she did refocus on art during a period of personal hardship. Therefore, for famous artists like Saeki and Utrillo – and for Utsumi – they breathe art from various different perspectives.


Book Review: Sawako Utsumi and her Kindred Spirit

European and Japanese Art: Buddhism, Christianity, Landscapes, Rinpa, Shintoism, Ukiyo-e, and Dutch Masters – Please click on to order the book. – Sawako Utsumi and where you can buy her art, postcards, bags, and other products. Also, individuals can contact her for individual requests.

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