This exhibition celebrates the 125th birthday of Hayami Gyoshū (1894-1935) and the first decade since the Yamatane Museum of Art moved to its present location in Hiroo, Shibuya City, Tokyo. To commemorate those significant junctures in our history, we are pleased to present an exhibition that offers an overall view of our Gyoshū collection, which is the “face” of our museum.
The Yamatane’s founder, Yamazaki Taneji (1893-1983) was just a year older than Gyoshū, but Gyoshū died when merely forty years old without their being able to have direct interactions. Taneji, however, loved Gyoshū’s art with all his heart, collected his work whenever an opportunity presented itself, and enjoyed displaying those paintings in the tokonoma in his home.
Gyoshū was nominated as a senior member of the Japan Art Institute at the unusually young age of twenty-three and was highly regarded by such distinguished artists as Yokoyama Taikan and Kobayashi Kokei. Never complacent, he changed his style frequently throughout his career. As he said, “The courage to climb to the top of the ladder is noble, while those who climb down from the perch and then climb back up it are all the more noble.” As he exercised that courage again and again, he breathed new life into the art world.
By the end of his brief life, Gyoshū had created about 700 paintings. Since most were the treasured possessions of their owners and rarely shown publicly, he became known as the “phantom painter.” In 1976, however, Taneji was approached about buying all 105 works by Gyoshū in the former Ataka & Co. collection. His decision to do so increased the Yamatane Museum of Art’s Gyoshū collection, which already consisted of fifteen works, to 120 works. Since then, the museum has been known informally as the “Gyoshū museum.”
This exhibition includes Gyoshū’s masterpieces, Dancing in the Flames and Camellia Petals Scattering (both Important Cultural Properties), as well as works from each of his periods, from his early period (such as A Suitor’s Trials) to near the end of his life (such as Black Peonies).
The first presentation of our Gyoshū collection as a whole since 2009, when our museum opened in Hiroo, this exhibition is an opportunity to enjoy the essence of Gyoshū’s art. It consists of four sections: “The Start: Out of Painting School,” “Tackling the Classics,” “Ten-Month Trip to Europe and Experimenting with Human Figure Paintings,” and “Aiming for New Heights.”