Japan Meets Modern Western Art
Torajiro Kojima (1881-1929) was a Japanese artist who chose to use the same visual language as the Impressionists. After a course in Western painting at the University of Fine Arts and Music in Tokyo, Japan, Torajiro Kojima left Japan in 1908 to study in Paris, aided by his patrons, the Ohara family.
A year later he enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent, Belgium, where he trained in Luminism. In 1912 Kojima returned to Japan. From 1920 onwards, he travelled to Europe several times at the request of Magosaburo Ohara to purchase Western art by Claus, Delvin, Monet, Matisse, Marquet and Rodin, among others. These paintings form the heart of the collection of the Ohara Museum of Art in Kurashiki, the first museum of modern Western art in Japan, opened in 1929.
As a painter, Torajiro Kojima was influenced
by several European art movements.
Besides Impressionism, he was also influenced by
Fauvism, which shows in these self portraits.
Selfie #2: Kojima Torajirō
Click for Enlarged Image
Ohara Museum of Art
In 1930, to commemorate Kojima Torajiro, a Western-style painter who died the previous year, Kurashiki entrepreneur Ohara Magosaburo founded the Ohara Museum of Art. This private museum, featuring Western art, is the oldest in Japan.Magosaburo, well-known as a collector of Japanese art, highly respected Torajiro’s talent and his humble attitude towards art, and he sent Torajiro to Europe three times. Torajiro studied art in Europe and, at the same time, selected for Magosaburo superb European artwork, choosing pieces through the sense of beauty that he possessed as a Japanese artist.Torajiro, who had a spirit typical of Meiji Era, felt there was a struggle between the highlights of Western art and his Japanese aesthetic sense, when he carefully chose artwork. He prudently chose masterpieces by El Greco, Gauguin, Monet, Matisse and other artists and brought them to Kurashiki, which are now the main features of the Ohara Museum of Art. His collection of Chinese and Egyptian art reveals the conflict of beauty between Western and Oriental art that he faced, where he tried to seek the essence of art.
Quote from Ohara Museum of Art
The masterpieces collected by Torajiro Kojima
for his patron, Ōhara Magosaburō,
form the base of the collection of Western art
of the Ohara Museum of Art in Kurashiki,
opened in 1929.
Portrait of Ohara Magosaburō
Click for Enlarged Image:
Over the next few weeks, I plan to highlight other works of Japanese Impressionism, including paintings in the Ohara Museum of Art in Japan and the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent, Belgium.
- Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Torajiro Kojima – Self Portrait.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Torajiro_Kojima_-_Self_Potrait.jpg&oldid=319465197 (accessed October 30, 2018).
- Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent, Belgium, “Torajiro Kojima – Self Portrait”, http://www.vlaamsekunstcollectie.be/collection.aspx?p=0848cab7-2776-4648-9003-25957707491a&inv=2000-D , (accessed 2 Nov 2018).
- Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:KojimaTorajirō-1910-Self-Portrait.png,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:KojimaTorajir%C5%8D-1910-Self-Portrait.png&oldid=304740151 (accessed October 30, 2018).
- Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:KojimaTorajirō-1915-Portrait of Ōhara Magosaburō.png,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:KojimaTorajir%C5%8D-1915-Portrait_of_%C5%8Chara_Magosabur%C5%8D.png&oldid=323537914 (accessed October 30, 2018).
Thanks for Reading! 🙂