Tsuji, Kak˘ 都路 華杳

Saru Gallery
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Biography Tsuji, Kak˘ 都路 華杳 (1870 - 1931)

Born in Kyoto, Tsuji Kak˘ was trained by K˘no Bairei both in the Maruyama en Shijo schools of painting. His early work shows his great proficiency in both. His style and subject matter were further influenced by Zen training, which he started in 1899. The works he produced in this period established his name in Kyoto as a Zen-influenced, unconventional artist.

With the death of the leading masters of both the Shij˘ and Maruyama schools in the late 1890ĺs, Tsuji Kak˘ became one of the leading figures of the new generation, with Takeuchi Seih˘, Kikuchi H˘bun, Taniguchi K˘ky˘ and Yamamoto Shunkyo. Kak˘, however, never achieved the same appeal and subsequent status as his contemporaries. This was both due to his individualism, and his lack of social suaveness and interest in the politics of the art-world.

The last ten years of the Meiji period, Kak˘ĺs work shows his preoccupation and study of waves, in which his style develops to a highly personal, untraditional, dynamic rendering. Apart from waves, Kak˘ at this time also explored the use of colour. His unconventional, highly individualistic attitude made him less popular as an artist , though his work was closely watched and commented on in many contemporary articles.

As a teacher, Kak˘ was true to his vision as an artist: his main aim, he stated, was to draw out the individuality of the young artists, instead of pushing them into a certain direction, or training them in what was fashionable at the time. It is therefore not surprising that Kak˘ĺs best-known pupil is Tomita Keisen. Although he had numerous pupils, Kak˘ did not have a fashionable school of painting, producing a group of well known significant followers. His contemporaries were all appointed judges at the Bunten before the end of the Meiji period. Tsuji Kak˘ had to wait until 1924, in spite of the fact that he submitted large scale works to the government exhibitions every year. These works were often ahead of their time, and were received with criticism rather than approval.
Apart from his large scale works, Kak˘ also produced another category, intimate works commissioned by dealers and collectors. Some considered these works far more interesting and closer to his natural style. In 1921 he organised a personal exhibition (Kong˘zan tansh˘ gakai) at the Mitsukoshi Department store in Osaka, in which he also showed non-commissioned work, which had been created in total artistic freedom. This show can be seen as an act of rebellion against the art establishment, which controlled the market and therefore the artists and their work. He no longer participated in government exhibitions and stopped accepting commissions. This underlined his image as a stubborn unconventional outsider.
In 1924 he was finally appointed judge for the Teiten, successor of the Bunten Exhibitions. In 1928 Kak˘ was operated for stomach cancer, and he died in 1931..

Araki, Tsune (ed), Dai Nihon sh˘ga meika taikan, Tokyo 1975 (1934), p.2027
Conant, Ellen P., Nihonga, transcending the past: Japanese-style painting, 1868-1968, Saint Louis 1995, p. 327
Morioka, Michiyo and Paul Berry, Modern Masters of Kyoto, Seattle 1999, pp. 40-53
Roberts, Laurance P., A Dictionary of Japanese artists, New York, 1976, p.189

See more paintings from this artist!
See also paintingss from Kikuchi, H˘bun 菊池 芳文 (1862-1918)
See also paintings from Takeuchi, Seih˘ 竹内 栖鳳 (1864-1942)
See also paintings from Bairei K˘no (1844-1895)


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