TAMAMURA Hokuto: Revolutionary of the Japanese-Style Painting

TAMAMURA Hokuto: Revolutionary of the Japanese-Style Painting
TAMAMURA Hokuto (c. 1932) Scene in a Port Town
The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto
TAMAMURA Hokuto (Zennosuke; 1893–1951) was born in the central ward of Kyoto to a family that ran a shop dealing in geta, a type of Japanese footwear.  He graduated from the Painting Department of the Kyoto Municipal School of Arts and Crafts in 1911, and went on to study under KIKUCHI Hōbun at the Kyoto Municipal Fine Arts College.  Upon graduating in 1915, he founds Mitsuritsu-kai, an association for studying and exhibiting nihonga (Japanese-style painting), with his colleagues from the two schools, including OKAMOTO Shinsō, KAINOSHŌ Tadaoto, and IRIE Hakō.  He also submits Inariyama, Kyōgokokuji, Kiyomizudō to the 2nd Saikō Inten (Reorganized Japan Fine Arts Academy Exhibition), where his work is accepted for the first time.  In 1916, he relocates to Tokyo to study at the Academy, and in 1918, he submits Ugetsu Monogatari (Tales of Moonlight and Rain) to the 5th Saikō Inten.  This time, he wins an award and receives a nomination as an associate member of the Academy, and thus makes his mark.  However, he expresses dislike for conventional nihonga and leaves the Academy after submitting his work one last time to the 6th Saikō Inten.
     From then on, Tamamura dedicates his efforts to avant-garde movements, such as “Daiichi Sakka Dōmei (D.S.D.),” “Sanka,” and “Tan’i Sanka (Unit Sanka).” During this period, he also presents avant-garde 3D works (now defunct), is associated with founding avant-garde magazines such as Epoch and GE.GJMGJGAM.PRRR.GJMGEM (G.G.P.G.), and takes part in a widely varied range of artistic activity, as seen for instance in his prolific printmaking.  He continues to hold solo exhibitions, presenting a brand-new interpretation of nihonga with his own uniquely grotesque and humorous style, a representative example being his major work Ugetsu Monogatari Picture Scrolls, composed of nine scrolls that will be shown for the first time in eighty-odd years in the present exhibition.  In 1930, Tamamura founds an association named after himself, the Hokuto-sha, with the aim to spread a new conception of nihonga by creating opportunities to present work with like-minded artists.  He paints nihonga portraying moments in everyday life or focusing on everyday sentiments, exemplified by such works as Holiday, which portrays a father and son playing catch.
     The present exhibition will introduce the entire scope of Tamamura’s work—known until now merely in fragments—for the very first time, through approximately 140 works and materials, such as magazines.


Related Events
Commemorative lecture: “About My Father, TAMAMURA Hokuto”
Date: January 26 (Sat.)  1:30–3:00PM (numbered tickets distributed 11:00AM–)
Place: Lecture hall (maximum capacity 100); free
Lecturer: TAMAMURA Toyo’o (essayist/artist)
in Japanese only

Exhibition Dates
Tuesday, January 8 – Sunday, February 17, 2008
Closed on Mondays
Exceptions: Open Jan. 14 (Mon./holiday) and Feb. 11 (Mon./holiday),
     closed Jan. 15 (Tue.) and Feb. 12 (Tue.)

The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto
The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura and Hayama
The Kyoto Shimbun Co., Ltd.
Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc.

  Day of admission Advance Group (20 or more)
Adult 830 700 560
University students 450 350 250
High school students 250 200 130
Junior high and younger Free Free Free

Advance tickets: Ticket Pia, FamilyMart (P code: 687-678), Lawson (L code:
56089), other major ticket vendors and convenience stores

Works on Rotation
The following works will be rotated halfway through the exhibition.

Part I only (Jan. 8 – Jan. 27) Part II only (Jan. 29 – Feb. 17)
18 Umihiko c. 1926 10 Tales of Ise (Utsuyama) 1926
20 Chloranthus glaber c. 1926 17 Fishing c. 1926
23 Snow at Dusk c. 1926 19 Chloranthus glaber c. 1926
26 Tales of Ise (Utsuyama) 1927–28 22 Mid-Autumn c. 1926
28 Night View of Cherry Blossoms in Maruyama 1927–28 24 Camellia c. 1926
30 Tamukeyama Shrine, Nara 1927–28 31 Tama River, Mt. Koya 1927–28
38 Yoro (The Aged) 1928 33 Specialities of the Inland Sea 1927–28
40 Old Pine Trees 1928 35 Tales of Genji (Koshibagaki) 1927–28
47 Paying Homage at Itsukushima 1928–29 39 Little Birds and Wisteria 1928
53 Tale of Genji 1928–29 43 Buddha 1928
58 Grape Vines 1928–29 48 (Record of) The War of Yashima 1928–29
74 A Couple of Cranes 1929 57 Little Bird and Chrysanthemums 1928–29
75 Cock and Wintry Field 1929 59 A Couple of Cranes in Winter Woods 1928–29
79 Plum Blossoms c. 1929–32 80 Tales of Genji c. 1929–32
103 Landscape 1943 81 Tea Seller c. 1929–32
104 Swallow and Willow 1943 112 Landscape of Shodoshima 1943
119 Indian Chrysanthemum 1943 130 Peonies c. 1943
131 Two Vases and Flowers c. 1943 132 Cornflower and Still Life c. 1943–50

The following works will not be on display in Kyoto.

27 Uji 1927–28 55 Two Roosters 1928–29
29 Yase-Ohara 1927–28 56 Little Birds and Dogwood 1928–29
32 Itsukushima Shrine 1927–28 76 Little Bird and Chrysanthemum 1929
34 Gorge in Shodoshima 1927–28 77 Little Birds and Maple 1929
49 Red Hollyhocks 1928–29 116 Pumpkin 1943
50 White Herons 1928–29 118 Quails 1943
54 White Crane beneath a Pine Tree 1928–29      

Additionally, the following works which are specially on display are not included in the exhibition catalogue.

          Landscape (1912)
          Album of Flowers (1935)
          A Vase and an Akebi (c. 1943)
          Model of the TAMAMURA Hokuto Residence

Publicity Materials
The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura  flyer
PDF file (775KB)


Flyer  PDF file (781KB)


Other Museums
The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura  2007/11/03 (Sat./holiday) – 12/16 (Sun.)

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