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Past Special Exhibition 2014

Komura Settai — Illustrations, Book Designs & Prints

1 October (Wed) through 14 December (Sun), 2014

The Shiseido Art House hosted a special autumn exhibition, Komura Settai — Illustrations, Book Designs & Prints.
Artist Komura Settai was born in 1887 in the city of Kawagoe in Saitama prefecture. He completed the Japanese painting (nihonga) course at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts (now Tokyo University of the Arts). As a student he enjoyed the patronage of author Izumi Kyoka, and in 1914 he illustrated the cover of Kyoka's novel Nihombashi, the first of numerous book design projects he would undertake for the novelist. As a student, Komura studied under Shimomura Kanzan, but his abilities extended past Japanese-style painting alone. His talents extended also to literary illustration, book design, and even the field of theatrical art, including stage settings, costuming, and historical background research. He remained extraordinarily active across a wide range of endeavors from the late 1920s until his untimely death in 1940, regarded as one of the most representative artists of his era.
From 1918 to 1923, Komura was a member of the Shiseido Design Department (the forerunner to the current advertising department), where he worked on Japanese-style designs and also laid the foundations of the “Shiseido typeface,” which the company continues to use today.
This exhibition introduced the diverse charm and appeal of Komura's work through about 80 examples of his work, selected from the Shiseido Art House collection. These include original illustrations drawn for newspaper-serialized novels and hardcovers, book cover designs, woodblock prints, and designs for Shiseido publications and products.

Uemura Shōko & the Artists of the SŌGA-Kai Association of Japanese Painting

8 July (Tue) through 23 September (Tue), 2014

This exhibition introduced works by artists associated with the SŌGA-Kai Association of Japanese Painting, selected from Shiseido's collection.
The SŌGA-Kai Association of Japanese Painting is a private Japanese art organization, originally founded in 1948 as “Sōzō Bijutsu” (“Creation Art”) and active over most of the past sixty-six years.
Uemura Shōkō and Yamamoto Kyūjin, participants in the Shiseido-sponsored Third Tsubaki-kai, were both founding members of the original Sōzō Bijutsu. Although they differed considerably in their artistic styles, both actively raised the banner against the conventional status quo of Japanese art and contributed to creating a fresh, new generation of Japanese painting.
Fourth Tsubaki-kai members Takizawa Tomoyuki and Kojima Yūji, two artists who carried the SŌGA-kai into the present, have contributed their unique creativity to a significant broadening of the expressive realm of conventional Japanese painting.
This exhibition highlighted Uemura Shōkō's “flower-and-bird” paintings, but also included examples of landscapes and abstract expressionism to explore a wide range of motifs—an excellent introduction to just a small portion of the SŌGA-kai's ongoing efforts to breathe fresh new life into the world of Japanese painting.

Traditional Japanese Crafts: Works in Bamboo & Metal by Living National Treasures
— Iizuka Shōkansai, Naitō Shirō, Somekawa Tetsunosuke, Nishi Daiyū —

8 April (Tue) through 29 June (Sun), 2014

This exhibition presented craft works in bamboo and metal selected from the Shiseido Art House collection.
Craftsmen featured in this exhibition included “living national treasures” Iizuka Shōkansai (bamboo) and Naitō Shirō (metal carving), as well as two of Japan's most prolific metal-casters, Somekawa Tetsunosuke and Nishi Daiyū, highlighting representative works from the prime of each craftsman's career. The pieces in this exhibition were originally presented in the context of the Modern Industrial Arts Exhibition series sponsored by Shiseido between 1975 and 1995 as part of its support of Japanese artistic culture. Bamboo and metal working have been deeply embedded in Japanese life since antiquity, and this exhibition offered visitors both a glimpse of the current state of these crafts and an opportunity to appreciate the subtle charms and refined forms they continue to offer even today.

Collections Found by the Shiseido Art House
— From Komura Settai to Aoki Noe —

15 January (Wed) through 30 March (Sun), 2014

While most of the works in the Shiseido Art House collection come from those originally shown at the Shiseido Gallery in Tokyo's Ginza from the 1970s on, this exhibition highlighted those that came to the collection in other ways. Many of these have some connection with Shiseido's support of the arts — for example, through the artists or motifs involved—and while they are comparatively fewer in number, they stand alongside or complement those collected via the Shiseido Gallery to form an important part of the Art House collection. This exhibition featured such representative works as Japanese-style painter Yokoyama Taikan's Guinea Fowl; an original of the illustration The Heroine Osen by Komura Settai; and paintings of Mt. Fuji by Takayama Tatsuo, known for his gentle, poetic style.