Biography Hirai, Baisen 平井 楳仙 (1889 - 1969)
Hirai Baisen was born in Kyoto in 1889, and graduated at Kyoto Municipal School of Arts and Crafts in 1906.
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Unlike most young painters who were trained at studios of masterpainters, Hirai Baisen chose an independent career.
In 1913 he visited China, after which he frequently painted views of the continent.
His style is often associated with that of Maeda Seison (1885-1977), because of its bird’s eye view and its very wet brushwork. In 1926 their work was considered representative of the new trends in Nihonga
From 1907 to 1931 his works were exhibited at the Bunten. After a promising start his work fell out of favour with the critics from the mid-1920s on and he was almost forgotten. With the reevaluation of the Taisho Period, his work has found new appreciation.
His early work shows great vivacity en inventiveness, which declined in his later works. His style seems to have been stifled by the increasingly academic approach in Nihonga painting.
Araki, Tsune (ed), Dai Nihon shôga meika taikan, Tokyo 1975 (1934), p.2262
Morioka, Michiyo and Paul Berry, Modern Masters of Kyoto, Seattle 1999, pp. 270-275
Roberts, Laurance P., A Dictionary of Japanese artists, New York, 1976, p.43