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Past Special Exhibition 2008

Masterpieces from the Shiseido Collection — Earlier Works in Japanese Painting, Contemporary Art, Pottery Craft and Glass Craft

1 October (Wed) to 21 December (Sun), 2008

The Shiseido Art House was opened in November 1978 in Kakegawa, Shizuoka. Over the thirty years since it has served as an art museum for the region, holding over seventy exhibitions.
This exhibition celebrated those thirty years with a presentation of about 130 works of Japanese, Western, and contemporary art and craft, including many that visitors to the museum have appreciated the most over the years, as well as significant works from the earlier and later Tsubakikai (1st through 4th) and Modern Industrial Art exhibitions (1975–95).
A corporation might ask, “What can we do to forge positive relationships with customers?” One of Shiseido's answers has been to present these thirty years worth of public art exhibitions. It's often said that an art collection reflects the character of the person who collected it, but the same can be said for a company. The collection is the face of the company, and this exhibition in particular was an embodiment of yet another aspect of Shiseido's consciousness of beauty in the world.

Photos by Fukuhara Shinzo & Fukuhara Roso

4 July (Fri) to 23 September (Tue), 2008

This exhibition featured the photography of Fukuhara Shinzo (1883–1948), Shiseido's first president but also well known for his mark on the world of photography, and his younger brother Roso (Nobutatsu).
Fukuhara Shinzo was born in Ginza, the third son of Shiseido founder Fukuhara Arinobu. From a young age he took an interest in art, and while he originally intended to pursue such a career, he eventually chose to follow his father's wishes in taking over the company. Nonetheless, his passion for art remained, and in 1921 he founded the Shashin Geijutsu Company and used this to publish an art journal under the title Shashin Geijutsu (Photographic Arts).
The founding issue included the article, “Light and Its Harmonies,” the start of Fukuhara's efforts to establish photography as an art form.
Fukuhara Roso, likely under the influence of his elder brother, had been interested in photography even as a middle school student. Like his brother, he was particularly interested in landscapes, but his notably intellectual, articulate compositions gradually helped him establish an artistic style of his own.
While the styles of these two photographers differed, they were representative of the age of “art photography,” both leaving bodies of work positioned at the origins of Japanese landscape photography. This exhibition, sixty years after Shinzo's passing, featured fifty of these works. The refined and rarefied atmosphere underlying these works has something overlapping with the image that Shinzo had for his own company, and this exhibition thus offered a window into the origins of the beauty consciousness that Shiseido had maintained from its very beginnings.

Ushijima Noriyuki, Mori Yoshio, and Wakita Kazu — Oil Paintings

3 April (Thu) to 29 June (Sun), 2008

This exhibition featured oil paintings by Ujima Noriyuki (1900–97), Mori Yoshio (1908–97), and Wakita Kazu (1908–2005). All three of these were members of the third Tsubakikai art exhibition held at the Shiseido Gallery in Ginza as part of Shiseido's artistic culture support activities. Ushijima's works in oil pushed open new boundaries of expression for Japanese landscape painting; Wakita used bird motifs to explore a unique world between abstraction and figuration; and Mori undertook portrait paintings underlain by a sense of trust in humanity. While these three painters differed from one another in style, they created a stream of works abounding in distinctive tone and quality, but also positioned themselves far from any kind of strong self-assertion. These tendencies were shared by all members of the third Tsubakikikai, arguably echoing the tenor of Shiseido's artistic sensibilities at the time.
This exhibition presented twenty-seven works by these three artists, all of whom lived with their art through the severe pre-war years to create limpid paintings that enabled them to establish themselves firmly on the stage of Western-style painting.

The Pleasures of Printing — Woodblock, Copperplate & Lithography

10 January (Thu) to 30 March (Sun), 2008

This exhibition highlighted prints from a variety of different genres.
In the art of printing, images cut into surfaces are transferred in reverse onto paper, and the same printing plate may be used to make multiple copies of the same image. Types of printing processes include relief printing, intaglio printing, lithographic printing, and stencil printing, and versions of these are found all over the world.
This exhibition focused on the use of these various techniques in modern printing to extend the boundaries of expression. Artists featured included world-renowned printers like Hamaguchi Yozo, Komai Tetsuro, and Ikeda Masuo, works by artists usually associated with Japanese and Western painting styles including Koiso Ryohei, Nomiyama Gyoji, and Komura Settai, and even Westerners like Salvador Dali and Bernard Buffet. It also included prints by sculptors like Funakoshi Katsura, Giacomo Manzù and Marino Marini, who have works in the museum's permanent exhibits, affording an excellent opportunity to the same artists working in two very different genres.