Masuya Shungai, Bowl for Tea Ceremony (Chawan), 1999, painting water colour, gift of the Artist through, The International Art Council, Akashi, Japan
June 24th - November 18th, 2000
Curator: Dr. Ilana Singer
This exhibition presents a selection of the items added to the Museum's collection over the last five years, including prints, drawings, ceramics, calligraphy and sword accessories. During this period the collection has been increased in several ways. Japanese works of art, both traditional and contemporary, have been purchased, particularly in the genres in which we wish to enrich and extend the current collection, but also in new disciplines. Collectors have offered to donate their collections to the Museum. Artists who have been represented in one-man or group exhibitions have given us works. Japanese artists who have never exhibited here have also donated their works.
On display for the first time are two works acquired in 1997 - a stencil print by the artist Mori Yoshitoshi (1898-1991), and a woodblock print by Akiyama Iwao (b.1921). The Museum already possesses works by these artists, and these new acquisitions attest to their artistic development.
From the age of fifteen, Mori Yoshitoshi studied art with the artist Yamakawa Shuho. He also made traditional yuzen textile designs with his father, Yamakawa Saiho. In 1923 he completed his studies in Japanese painting at the Kawabata school of art. His work is mainly influenced by that of Yanagi Soetsu, Serizawa Keisuke and, as of 1942, the Folk Arts Movement. Mori worked for thirty years in designing and printing textiles for kimonos. In 1955 he reverted to print-making, specialising in stencil and woodblock printing. From 1949 he was a member of the Kokugakai, the National Academy, and in 1982 he became a member of the Nikon Hanga Kyokai, the Japanese printmakers' society. He exhibited in venues throughout the world, and at many biennale exhibitions in Tokyo. He frequently depicted workers at their quotidian tasks, festivals, exotic imagery from Buddhism, and folk subjects. His style is bold, with a flavour of folk art (Mingei).
Akiyama Iwao was born in Oita Province on Kyushu Island, and completed his studies at the Taiheiyogakai School in 1956. His initial artistic works were oil paintings, but he then turned to engraving, and ultimately to the woodblock printing technique known as mokuhan. From 1959 to 1966 he studied printing with the renowned Japanese artist Munakata Shiko (1903-1975). Akiyama usually depicts owls or other living creatures.
The Museum's collection has also been expanded by gifts or donations from collectors. For example, in this exhibition we are happy to present, for the first time, sword accessories from the collection of Daniel and Hilda Lebow of New York. These were given to the Museum this year. Included are hand guards (tsuba), and kozuka - handles of small daggers which are carried in a pocket on the scabbard of the sword - decorated with gold, silver and metal alloys. We also display a number of traditional prints which have been transferred to the Museum on permanent loan by Mrs. Hana Borensztejn and Mrs. Ilana Drucker, daughters of the late Felix Tikotin. These prints were originally shown in our exhibition "Things that go Bump in the Night" in 1999.
Modern prints by leading Japanese artists who participated in the group exhibition "Space" (1999) include works by Aki Mana, Fudezuka Toshihisa, Ito Rie, Karasawa Hitoshi, Wakita Aijiro, Miida Seiichiro, Nakazato Hitoshi, Nakabayashi Tadayoshi, Takahashi Yo, and Yamanaka Gen, donated to the Museum through the kind offices of the Yoseido Gallery in Tokyo.
Works by artists who have had one-man shows here in the past include: ceramics by Koie Ryoji (from "Nami - Waves", 1996) and Fujii Emi ("The Tea-bowls of Fujii Emi", 1997); calligraphy and an ink drawing by Kazuo Ishii ("Ink Marks", 1998); an engraving by Noriko Yanagisawa ("Mori", 1998); and woodblock prints by Fumio Kitaoka ("The Four Seasons", 1997).
For the first time we are exhibiting works by contemporary Japanese artists whose works have never been shown at the Museum, but who have donated items via the Akashi International Arts Committee. They include calligraphic works by Ryu Godo, Kunishige Rikei, Gyotoku Keiho, Yamakawa Shungyo, Kawashima Hozan, Murayama Kaoh and Shiratori Ryusuke.
Since the Museum reopened in December 1995, the collection has expanded to the extent that we can only present, in this exhibition, a selection of our acquisitions. I take this opportunity of expressing our gratitude to all the donors and artists who support the Museum and have enriched its collections.