Exhibition Outlines

No.9 Reappraisal of Meiji Art Ⅱ -The Dawning of Nihonga From the late 1870's to early 1890's- (1995/9/23 - 1995/12/14)

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Reappraisal of Meiji Art Ⅱ

In succession of our exhibition which was held from January to March this year, the Reappraisal of Meiji Art l-The Era of Meiji Bijutsu Kai and Nihon Kinko Kyokai, (Late 1880's to 1890's oil paintings and metalwork, metal sculptures and cloisonné), our museum is scheduled to introduce Meiji period nihonga in our 9th exhibition from September to December, and our 11th exhibition from March to June of 1996.

In the 9th exhibition, we will focus on the movements from the late 1870's when the various Japanese painting schools until the early modern period were grouped together in contrast with western style oil paintings, and painting expressions combining the styles of various schools which were groped for in the 1890's. Japanese paintings in the Meiji period were called simply “kaiga" (paintings) and not “nihonga" (literally ”Japanese paintings"). The early to middle Meiji period was the dawning of the nihonga as a genre among Japanese modern art, which is the reason for the subtitle of this exhibition, “The Dawning of Nihonga”.

Furthermore, in this period, the Royal Family supported paintings by purchasing works exhibited in the Naikoku Kaiga Kyoshinkai (National Painting Competition) and other exhibitions, or hiring representative painters of each traditional school to create the cedar door paintings within the Meiji castle built in 1888.

The contents of the exhibition is divided into 2 parts. In the 1st part, we introduce the early works from 1877 when the first National Exhibition which is also the first a11-around art exhibition held by the government in our country, until 1887 when the cedar door paintings of the Meiji Castle were painted. These were the last traces of the traditional schools from the Edo period such as Nanga, Shijo Maruyama, and Kano Schools, in their original form. As middle period works, we will exhibit the rather grotesque, vulgar, and humorous paintings by Noguchi Yukoku, Kano Baisai, Fujii Shorin, Kawanabe Kyoun, Hoshino Sensui, which can be considered as the succession and development of late Edo tastes and aesthetics. In this sense, at least in paintings, the late 1870's to early 1880's was only an extension of the Edo period. In contrast, in the 2nd part of the exhibition, we will introduce works by painters who were active in the late 1880's to middle 1890's within the Nihon Bijutsu Kyokai (Japan Art Association), mainly which were exhibited in the Nihon Bijutsu Kyokai Exhibitions. They will show that the Japanese paintings of the Meiji Era deepened compromised expressions in this period, forming the basics of “nihonga“.

This exhibition attempts to introduce the charm within the “nihonga” of the early to middle Meiji period through various forms of paintings such as hanging scrolls, screens, cedar door paintings, handscrolls, and drawing books.

We are also scheduling our 11th exhibition titled “The Way to Modern Nihonga, From the late 1890's to middle 1900's", where we will exhibit Middle Meiji to Taisho period modernized paintings comparing the works of the “old school” Nihon Bijutsu Kyokai painters, and the “new school” Tokyo Bijutsu Gakko (Tokyo Art School) painters.