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In the history of modern Japanese painting, which developed under the strong influence of Western painting, the history and the painting style of Tamiji Kitagawa is attractively different. Through his contact with the socialistic painters in New York, such as John Sloan, and the mural painting movement developed by Orozco, Rivera and Siqueiros, and through personal experience working in Mexico in the field of art education for children, he acquired the perspective and skill to paint the masses, which became his lifelong theme.
From this work, which was drawn during his stay in Mexico, we can see the quality of the dim gray foundation, which is unique to Tamiji, and a painting configuration that must have been well thought. On a hill overlooking a church, a woman carefully holding a young child and women dressed in Tirma, the folk costume of Mexico, are carrying bundles of flowers as they walk to a graveyard. In the lower left of the canvas, a funeral procession follows behind with men carrying a small coffin over their heads. In addition, a bathing woman, cows and donkeys, bones at their feet, cacti and maguey which are unique to Mexico are painted here and there. By placing these objects in contrast, a contradicting theme of life and death is combined in one painting. This work makes us feel the Mexican idea of life and death which is filled with the hope of resurrection, symbolized by the "Day of the Dead".
(Source: Selected Works from the Collection of Nagoya City Art Museum, 1998, p. 75.)

Details

  • Title: Memorial Services at the Cemetery of Tlalpan
  • Creator: Tamiji Kitagawa
  • Date Created: 1930
  • Location: Mexico
  • Physical Dimensions: 99.5×89.8 cm
  • Provenance: Purchased in 1984
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Nagoya City Art Museum
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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