Born in Tokyo, OSHITA Tojiro studied under NAKAMARU Seijuro and HARADA Naojiro. Up until about 1897 he also produced oil paintings, but he then discovered the joy of creating watercolor paintings of landscapes from nature and eventually concentrated solely on watercolors. He loved travel and nature, always searching for new landscapes to paint, and in addition to his travels around Japan, he also visited Australia, a rare thing for a painter of that period.
From the bright colors he used to depict the wide expanse of sky and sea in ‘Melbourne Harbour’ and other vistas of Australia, we can feel his excitement at having discovered completely new world that he used to expand his range of expression. He joined the Japanese Alpine Club in around 1907, and from that time onwards he frequently produced mountain landscapes like this ‘Autumn at Hibara Lake’ in which he captured the clear atmosphere of the subject through delicate brushwork.
OSHITA Tojiro was introduced to MORI Ogai by his teacher, HARADA Naojiro and in 1901, when he published a book on how to paint in watercolors, he asked Ogai to write a preface. When OSHITA died in 1911 at the age of forty-one, his wife asked Ogai to write a chronology for his posthumous works. As a result of reading OSHITA’s notes in the course of this work, Ogai later went on to write a short story about OSHITA entitled ‘Nagashi’. Talented in a variety of directions, OSHITA not only produced watercolors, but also published books on painting technique and on travel, in addition, he produced a specialist magazine on watercolor painting entitled ‘Mizue’, opened a school for watercolor painting, and traveled the country giving lectures to popularize watercolor painting among amateur artists.