Galerie Nichido is pleased to present a three persons exhibition showing the works of Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita, Morikazu Kumagai and Nagare Masayuki. The choice to bring these three important artists from slightly different generations among our representative artists comes from our will to create an exhibition that shows the gallery’s historical timeline.
Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita (1886-1968)
Acknowledged as the most important Japanese artist working in the West during the 20th century, Foujita quickly achieved fame among the school of Paris in the 1920
s as an Asia painter, and with his iconic “grand fond blanc”, he was able to develop a colorful reputation among the international art scene. Foujita Although Foujita left Japan permanently after Japans defeat of the war, galerie nichido continued to promote his artwork in Japan. From early years depicting endearing women and cats, to later times working on imaginary elfin children and religious paintings, we will present works spanning across the career of the artist to show a rebellion soul who always dreamt of an ideal world waiting to be created, and was able to fulfill those dreams with his own hands.
Morikazu Kumagai 熊谷守一 (1880-1977) was born in 1880. Although Kumagai was well known as a solitary artist, the two still had a traceable relationship regarding their artistic approach: both of them learned western style paintings at school but managed to find their original expression on their own in different ways. In 1938, galerie nichido organized a group show including both Kumagai and Foujita. Since then, the gallery had been working with both artists for a long time, keep on handling their works even after their death. The Hasegawa generation has special feelings for Foujita and Kumagai because of the historical connections between the artists and the gallery that goes beyond a simple business relation.
The turning point is represented by the Japanese paintings he genuinely devoted himself to from 1937, leading him to the realization of his unique style which is characterized by simplified shapes and the contour lines that distinctively embrace them. This sharp style painting which is called “Morikazu’s style” became popular, and put a spotlight on Kumagai within the artists’ circle. In 1967 he was unofficially offered the Order of Culture but refused it, and lived his entire life as an unawarded painter.
National Museum of Art, Tokyo currently shows his retrospective exhibition titled “The Joy of Life”, which is the first held to show in Tokyo in many years, sheds light on the artist’s creative process with more than 200 paintings, sketches, diaries, and documents.
Masayuki Nagare (1923-) Trained to be a sword maker, Nagare was assigned to pilot a Zero fighter plane during Second World War. After Japan’s defeat, Nagare traveled throughout the war- ravaged country. The sight of endless gravestones and the desire to bring peace and consolation to the souls, he decided to apply his sword-making hands to stone. Since then, Nagare developed serial sculptural forms that maintain a firm connectedness to the Japanese sensibility, whilst at the same time reflecting a modernist aesthetic that transcends cultural identity, enabling his works to travel and be celebrated overbroad. galerie nichido is honored to work with the artist for major retrospectives over the past decades. In this show we plan to present both classical and new works of him to show how the artist continues to spread tenderness through the most hard and persevering materials at the age of 95.