Against the jet-black form of the towering rocks of Kinka-zan mountain, bonfires cast bright glows upon the river. All his life, Kawai Gyokudo continued to paint scenes from the land of his childhood.

Kawai Gyokudo was born Kawai Yoshisaburo in Kisokawa Village, Aichi Prefecture. He later moved to Gifu and then Kyoto, where he apprenticed successively under Mochizuki Gyokusen and Kono Bairei, learning the style of the Maruyama Shijo school. Then, he moved to Tokyo to study under Hashimoto Gaho. Following his teacher’s example, he joined in the establishment of the Nihon Bijutsuin (Japan Art Institute) and at the same time participated actively in the Bunten and Teiten exhibitions. In 1915, he became professor at the Tokyo Fine Arts School, continuing in the post until 1938. In his late years, he made his home in Mitake in the Okutama region, where he enjoyed painting and composing haiku poetry. Having spent his childhood near the Ngara River, cormorant fishing was a theme he was very familiar with, and he left several hundred pieces on this subject during his lifetime. The work shown here was exhibited in the 12th Teiten exhibition of 1931. Gyokudo used gold paint for the bonfires and their reflections on the water to make a stronger impression of the areas of light in darkness. The brushwork that has captured the movements of the fishermen and boatman reflects the free-spirited, realistic expression of the Maruyama Shijo school, while the gigantic rocks in the background are rendered in the Kano school’s characteristic style. Together they help make this a highly lyrical work, which while retaining classical techniques, is based on a new sensibility. (Writer : Tamon Takase Source : Selected Masterpieces from The University Art Museum, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music: Grand Opening Exhibition, The University Art Museum, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, 1999)


Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps