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In August 1921, Koide Narashige set out for Paris, and in April of the following year, he returned to Japan. Of the half-year he spent in Europe, he spent only about two months in Paris. His impressions of Paris were primarily of the dead of winter, not autumn. In later years, Koide would not think upon his experiences in Paris with much nostalgia. The setting for this painting is a hotel located at 17, Rue de Sommerard. Hazama Inosuke (1895-1977) and Hayashi Shizue (1895-1945), two painters who had entered the country with Koide in Marseilles, also stayed here. Mostly likely, the hotel was a place known amongst Japanese artists as a place to stay. Koide seems to have painted this picture after returning to Japan. To refresh his memory, he apparently referred to a photograph he had taken in his room. The lines in the painting are all slightly crooked, giving the space a feel of instability. The city looks much like it might appear to an old Parisian man who is waiting to die a lonely death. The colors are too bleak even for the season, and they give an impression of loneliness, much like Koide’s own feelings during his stay in Paris. This does not mean, however, that the painting has no power to lighten the spirit. Creating such works that elevated the art of oil painting to its greatest heights was Koide’s perverse way of thumbing his nose at Paris, the city of the arts. In any case, if memories provide the material for artwork, that is enough. Sometimes in the process of painting in oils, one’s brush strays without thinking and creates a truth that goes beyond the memory that inspired it. In such cases, the paintings resonate with these truths.

Details

  • Title: At the Hotel Sommerard, Paris
  • Date: 1922/1922
  • painter: KOIDE Narashige
  • Physical Dimensions: w44.5 x h51.5 cm (complete)
  • Artist Name (Japanese): 小出楢重
  • Provenance: Mie Prefectural Art Museum
  • Type: Oil on canvas
  • Rights: Mie Prefectural Art Museum

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