Japan Art and Tokuoka Shinsen: Beauty to Behold

Japan Art and Tokuoka Shinsen: Beauty to Behold

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Tokuoka Shinsen (1896-1972) was born in the cultural environs of Kyoto. One can only imagine how the Meiji Period (1868-1912) and Taisho Period (1912-1926) impacted his artistic and creative life.

He graduated during the Taisho era in Kyoto concerning art. By the late Taisho era, Tokuoka was gaining in reputation – after earlier setbacks.

The Hiroshima Museum of Art says, “A Japanese-style painter in Kyoto circle, and active as one of the representative pupils of Seiho Takeuchi during and after World War II. After creating the originally realistic style affected by the western-realism, he opened a new style in Japan, driving the simplification and decorativeness rooted in Japanese classicism.”

The delightful Riverstream Orchid by Tokuoka above highlights the beauty of simplicity – at its cultural and artistic best.

Christie’s says, “Shinsen was a member of the Japan Art Institute, an institution dedicated to the modernization of nihonga. In Shinsen’s case, that goal was realized by rendering themes from nature through highly reductive compositions, idealized forms, and gorgeous colors.” 

It is nigh impossible to imagine the internal convulsions of Japan he witnessed throughout his life in these delightful art pieces.


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