Kawai Gyokudō biography


Common knowledge is that art is an essential part of our ordinary existence. What is art for you? Some people are sure that art is something limited that we can draw, sing, and listen. Nevertheless, we have the meaningful objection. Art is the unique ability to see the extraordinary things in the daily routine. Especially, such power had the artiste whom we dedicated the following article.

Kawai Gyokudō-Japanese artist, the painter, belongs to the Nihong school, (born November 24, 1873, in Japan, died June 30, 1957, Tokyo). His real name is Kawai Yoshisaburō.

He also studied painting Yu-ha (Western-style painting) and developed a very personal style, especially in the field of landscapes. As professionals say, Kawai Gyokudō found a golden mean not only between the western and eastern painting but also between the styles of Kyoto and Tokyo schools.

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He was a late child in the family of a well-to-do landowner. Father Kawai was engaged in breeding orchids, writing haiku and was a master of the tea ceremony. In 1887, Kawai went to study painting Maruyama-Shijo in Kyoto.

When the boy was 8 years old, the family was forced to sell the property and go to the city of Gifu, there Gyokudō opened an art store. Gyokudō’s mother, samurai’s daughter, ran the store. And his father was engaged in intellectual pursuits. Fairly early, bright and expressive drawings of the boy attracted the attention of others.

Thanks to walks in the mountains with his father Kawai not only fell in love with nature but also felt the deep power of her emotional impact.

In 1896, he moved to Tokyo and became a student of the school of Hashimoto Gah, Kan. Initially, the Shijo School, studying under the direction of Hashimoto Yasunagi, studied the school in Kano, created a unique style in a moderate landscape painting filled with poetry.

In 1900, Gyokudō opened a private school, and in 1907 became a member of the Imperial Academy of Arts. Since 1915, he taught painting nihonga in the Tokyo School of Fine Arts. In 1944, during the Second World War, Kawai Gyokudō was evacuated to Tama county, where he lived until his death.

Basic ideas in painting

Kawai Gyokudō is best known for his own style of depicting nature in polychrome technology, although he wrote and sent black-and-white scrolls in an old-Chinese manner.

I must say that Kawai Gyokudō was and remains extremely popular and loved in Japan. His name stands among the first names of artists who worked in the “Japanese manner” of Nihongo.

Kawai Gyokudō in his works more often in different places, and richly portrayed the life of people and animals living there, objects in a natural setting.

Poetic and at the same time, with credibility, Gyokudō reproduced a slow, measured peasant life, finding beauty and profound meaning in scenes of everyday life of people from remote mountain villages.

Famous paintings made by Kawai Gyokudō

Among his representational works are Futsuka Zuki (New Moon), Yuku Haru, Mina no-yu (Evening at the top of the mountain) and Bossetsu, (Snow in the Evening), Farewell Spring, Autumn rain (1940).

Most of his works have been preserved and presented in the Gyokudo Art Museum, in Ōme, Tokyo.