Japan art and Kawai Gyokudō (1873-1957

Japan art and Kawai Gyokudō (1873-1957)

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Kawai Gyokudō (1873-1957) is famous for Nihonga art. He belongs to the Meiji, Taisho, and Showa periods of Japanese history. Hence, with his father’s consent, he began to study art in Kyoto under the tutelage of Kōno Bairei.

Kyoto was a great place for Gyokudō to study the intricacies of art. Thus Gyokudō refined his knowledge at a very young age under the highly esteemed Bairei regarding the Maruyama-Shijō School of Art.

In 1896, Gyokudō would study under the famous Hashimoto Gahō. Hence, he moved away from the Maruyama-Shijō School of Art to the Kanō School of Art. Gyokudō also adored landscape painting. Therefore, the appeal of Western landscapes began to shape his art to a higher degree.

The Yamatane Museum of Art says, “Kawai Gyokudō (1873-1957) created richly lyrical paintings of Japan’s natural environment and its people’s manners and customs. The Yamatane Museum of Art is delighted to present a retrospective exhibition of seven decades of Gyokudō’s work. Born in Aichi and raised in Gifu prefecture, Gyokudō studied with Mochizuki Gyokusen and Kōno Bairei in Kyoto before moving to Tokyo at the age of twenty-three. There he further polished his art under the guidance of Hashimoto Gahō. In Kyoto, Gyokudō had studied the Maruyama Shijō tradition. In Tokyo, with that as his foundation, he also incorporated the Kanō school style in which Gahō worked, enhancing and expanding his domain from traditional to modern landscape painting.”

It is difficult to imagine the turbulent period that engulfed Japan in this period of history. Thus his Nihonga art and other angles are a real treasure.


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