Peaches

Tamamura Hokuto 玉村方久斗 Japanese

Shōwa period (1926–1989)

Not on view

The innovative Nihonga artist Tamamura Hokuto created a simple but compelling still life of peaches in a blue-and-white porcelain bowl, whose mountainous landscape motif is rendered in a highly impressionistic manner. The tall and narrow hanging-scroll with open space below and above, rather than placed in a complex interior setting helps to accentuate the forms of the bowl and fruits, and gives the composition a graphic strength, keeping in mind that the artist Tamamura Hokuto was also well known for creating prints and lithographs. The subtle coloristic drama of the still life is accented by touches of gold to create the veins of leaves and points of reflected light.

Born in Kyoto, Tamamura Hokuto trained at the Kyoto Municipal School of Fine Arts, where he studied Nihonga with Kikuchi Hōbun (1862–1918). From the time he graduated in 1915 until 1923, he contributed to the official juried Inten (Japanese Art Institute) exhibitions and founded the Mitsuritsu-kai, an association for the study and promotion of Nihonga. After 1923, however, he became disenchanted with conventional Nihonga and became active in the proletarian and Dadaist art movements, and became a major figure in Japan's avant-garde movements of the day. He produced prints using woodblock and lithograph techniques both in sōsaku hanga manner, where the artist carries out every stage of the production, as well as in the traditional Japanese way by working with a carver and printer. He later re-engaged with Nihonga, but rather than creating works on religious or literary themes, he enjoyed portraying moments in everyday life or little revelations of daily life. This still life, for instance, captures a moment of seeing sunlight strike a bowl of peaches.

Peaches, Tamamura Hokuto 玉村方久斗 (Japanese, 1893–1951), Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, Japan

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