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Oriental Melon

Tsuchida Bakusen1931

The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama

The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama

Bakusen studied under Shonen Suzuki and Seiho Takeuchi. He graduated Kyoto Municipal Painting College. Although he submitted works to the Bunten, dissatisfied with the screening, he founded Kokuga Sosaku Kyokai with Kagaku Murakami and others in 1918. He participated in a strong movement to create new nihonga based on modern sensibilities. Following the dissolution of the nihonga section of Kokuga Sosaku Kyokai in 1928, he returned to the Teiten and became a member of the Imperial Art Academy.

It seems as if the oriental melons are portrayed as is in the noontide of summer, but the vine stretching in curves, the large and small leaves, and the melons are actually tightly organized with vividness within this horizontal space. The fine, supple line drawing and the fresh pale green tone provide a delicately fresh impression. This painting was produced when Bakusen was forty-four, at a time when he was recurring from an approach to Western painting to Oriental painting connected with the courtly style of the Song dynasty. Bakusen said, “The more I stare at nature, the more I move away from aspects such as form and am overcome by a strange inspiration.” “Simply deepen the spirit and realize nature’s inspirations.” By observing the subject keenly, deepening the realism, and concentrating on the beauty of his own inside, Bakusen was able to create an unworldly beauty like this.

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