After studying at Hakubakai Yoga Kenkyujo, through his association with members of the Shirakaba school, Ryusei learnt about artists such as van Gogh and C_zanne. In 1912, together with Yori Saito and others, he founded the anti-naturalist Fusain-kai. In 1915, he organized Sodosha. From then on, he gradually become more Oriental in character and held early ukiyo-e paintings and sketches dating from the Song and Yuan dynasties in China too in esteem.

Ryusei moved to convalesce in Kugenuma, Fujisawa in 1917. This Kugenuma Period was the most substantial time in his career as he produced figure paintings such as Portrait of Reiko and numerous master landscapes and still lifes. This painting is a view of Kugenuma and was included as one of the works the artist himself liked in a selection of his own works published during his lifetime. From around 1913, Ryusei was deeply moved by “the vivid, strangely live power” of the soil and “the force that seems to push up from the earth’s axis” in the road and painted landscapes such as Road Cut Through a Hill and Soil and Grass. This painting is in line with such examples. According to Ryusei’s diary, he began working on this on May 11 and, as inscribed in the picture, it was completed on May 17. The texture of the sandy road close to the sea and the vitality of the fresh green of the pine trees basking in the early summer sunshine are wonderfully depicted in unconstrained brushwork by Ryusei, who had recovered his health.


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