Born in Tokyo, KISHIDA left school in 1908 to become a painter. He studied under KURODA Seiki at the Hakuba-kai’s (White Horse Society) Aoibashi Western Painting Study Center. Learning of the ‘Shirakaba’ literature and art magazine, he struck up a friendship with the artists of the Shirakaba School, becoming very impressed with the work of the Neo-Impressionists. In 1912 he helped form the Fyuzankai (Fusain Society). After the Fyuzankai was disbanded, he became influenced by the work of Dürer and the Northern Renaissance painters, developing his own form of realism painting. From 1915 to 1922 he presided over the Sodo-sha Fine Arts Society, producing works such as ‘Kiritoshi no Shasei’ (Road Cut Through a Hill), ‘Reiko-zo’ (Portrait of Reiko) and numerous mysterious-seeming still-lifes.
In 1916 he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and forced to live quietly. When his medical treatment prevented him from venturing out to sketch, he concentrated on still-life painting. In 1917 he moved to Kugenuma in Kanagawa Prefecture. The work shown here was produced when he was living in Kugenuma and an entry in his diary for June 1920 would appear to refer it. We can see the trouble he took to capture the light on that day, the red apples, the bowl and the ‘decanter and tea caddy he bought in Kyoto’ possessing a mysterious atmosphere in this still life.