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Past Special Exhibition 2000

Living National Treasure — Masumura Mashiki: The Techniques & Beauty of Lacquer

27 September (Wed) to 24 December (Sun), 2000

Masumura Mashiki (1910–96) is a lacquer craftsman who in 1978 was recognized as an “Important Intangible Cultural Property” (“living national treasure”) for his contributions to Japanese lacquering (kyushitsu) technique.
Masumura began his career by learning the fundamentals of lacquer craft at Kumamoto Municipal Vocational School, continued his studies in Nara and Tokyo, and by 1937 had become independent, showing his works in the governmental exhibitions and other prestigious exhibitions. After the war he parted ways with the Nitten (Japan Fine Arts Exhibition), centering most of his activity around the world of Japanese applied arts and throughout the mid- to late-twentieth century serving as a foremost representative of Japanese lacquer craft. He participated in the Shiseido-sponsored Exhibition of Modern Industrial Arts, which stood with the Japan Traditional Craft Exhibition as a venue of major importance for presenting such works, submitting works from the very first exhibition and then every year during the event's twenty year run.
Masumura's lacquered wares are distinguished by his harmonized use of dry lacquer to create a base combined with an excellence of finishing technique to create a unique plastic beauty. He contributed numerous innovations to dry lacquer, creating a method that resulted in lightweight, solidly durable, highly plastic wares with a kind of beauty that had never been seen before. These efforts and the resulting wares remain highly influential on those who followed in his footsteps.
This exhibition featured mainly works that Masumura had shown at the Exhibition of Modern Industrial Arts between 1975 and 1995, as well as artifacts from his studio including samples showing the dry lacquer process, the molds used for some of the works on display, and some of the tools he used, introducing some of the techniques and beauty of his craft.

Artists of the 21st Century

Part1: 6 June (Tue) to 6 August (Sun), 2000
Part2: 8 August (Tue) to 24 September (Sun), 2000

This two-part exhibition featured works by ten up-and-coming and young artists active in various parts of the contemporary art scene.
The eight artists in part one included Kawasaki Koichi, Kubo Tomoko, Takizawa Tomoyuki, Nara Yoshitomo, Hirai Yu, Momose Hisashi, Mori Mariko, and Watanabe Etsuko. These artists applied a diversity of techniques to create twenty-one works with mixed techniques, oil paints, stone, photography, dyeing, and other techniques.
Part two was featured by only two artists, Ono Takao and Funakoshi Katsura, who created twenty-four works depicting people using techniques like wood carving, tempera painting, and lithography.
Both halves of this two-part exhibition mixed two- and three-dimensional works, making it an excellent and enjoyable introduction to the rich diversity of contemporary art.
All of the exhibiting artists had previously been introduced or supported in events like “Shiseido Gallery Introducing Japnaese Artist Living Abroad”, “Shiseido Gallery Annual”, and “Tsubakikai”, all parts of Shiseido's mecenat activities.

Umehara Ryuzaburo & the Artists of the Tsubakikai

7 March (Tue) to 4 June (Sun), 2000

This exhibition featured twenty-five oil paintings and fresco images from the Shiseido Art House collection. Eight of the exhibiting artists including Umehara Ryuzaburo, Oka Shikanosuke, Osawa Shosuke, Kazuki Yasuo, Hosoya Koji, Koiso Ryohei, Nakatani Tai, and Migishi Setsuko had previousl participated in the Shiseido-sponsored Third Tsubakikai exhibitions, which ran from 1974 to 1990. Also on display as a special exhibit was the work “Keshi” by Shizuoka-based painter Misoya Ichinen, who had exhibited it originally in 1954 with the First Tsubakikai Exhibition.
Many of the works displayed were landscapes, although still lifes and portraits were also featured, and the exhibition mixed a variety of figurative and abstract expressive methods.
This mix of artists and methods offered an enjoyable "contest" among some of the leading artists who had led the world of Western-style painting in the mid- and late–twentieth century.

Iwahashi Eien Commemorative Exhibition

5 January (Wed) to 5 March (Sun), 2000

This exhibition commemorated the work of Japanese-style painter Iwahashi Eien, who passed away in July 1999. The works on display offered a glimpse into the achievements of this artist, who devoted his live to exploring the possibilities inherent in Japanese-style painting.
Iwahashi Eien, who would become known for his activities with the Japan Fine Arts Institute Exhibition, notably large landscapes, was born in Sorachi, Hokkaido (now Takikawa). In 1924 he went to Tokyo to study in the school of Yamauchi Tamon, and in 1954 received the Ministry of Education Fine Arts Prize (Geijutsu Sensho) for his “Garden Rocks” series. During his life he earned wide recognition as a representative of the Japanese-style painting, acknowledged for his distinguished services in the field of culture an 1989, and receiving the Order of Cultural Merit in 1994. He was a member of the Shiseido-sponsored Third Tsubakikai, contributing a number of excellent works to its first through sixteenth exhibitions between 1974 and 1989. This commemorative exhibition was comprised of twelve works exhibited with the Tsubakikai. Each of these was representative of Iwahashi's awe-inspiring presence, and while the deep spirituality imbued in each brush stroke is evident, these pictures also clearly brimmed with power and energy.