Kishida Riusei: A Retrospective

Saturday, August 31 - Sunday, October 20, 2019

Mondays (except September 16, 23 and October 14) and on Tuesday September 17 and Tuesday September 24
[Opening Hours]
10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
* Fridays: Until 8:00 p.m.
* Last admission: 30 minutes before closing time
[Admission Fee]
Adults (at the door): 1,100 yen, high school and university students (at the door): 900 yen
Adults (advance ticket): 900 yen, high school and university students (advance ticket): 700 yen
* Junior high school students and younger: Free
* For groups of 20 or more, admission fees are 800 yen for adults and 600 yen for high school and university students.
* Persons with a disability certificate or similar receive a 100 yen discount on tickets purchased at the door, and one accompanying helper is admitted free.

Tickets can be purchased from:
Tokyo Station Gallery (up until 30 minutes before the gallery closes),
Lawson Ticket (L-code=31628), E Plus, CN Playguide and
Seven Ticket.
* Advance tickets are on sale from June 29 to August 30.
* Advance tickets are on sale at the Tokyo Station Gallery reception desk until August 18, on days when the venue is open.
[Organized by]
Tokyo Station Gallery (East Japan Railway Culture Foundation), The Tokyo Shimbun
[With the sponsorship of]
Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd., Toyota Motor Corporation
[With the special cooperation of]
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Flyer PDF

A Shining Star in the History of Modern Japanese Art in All His Glory!

Riusei Kishida (1891-1929) is a towering presence in the history of modern Japanese art as the painter who took the most original creative path. Kishida was born in Ginza, Tokyo and his father, Ginko Kishida, was a pioneering figure in the Meiji Era. After his father’s death, Kishida intended to become a Christian pastor. However, he was recommended to become an artist when he taught himself to create watercolor paintings. He studied oil painting in earnest at the Aoibashi Yoga Kenkyujo run by the Hakuba group led by Kuroda Seiki. The works of the Post-Impressionists (Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse et al) had a huge impact on him when he learned of them via the magazine Shirakaba. In 1912, Kishida formed Fuzankai (the Fusain Society) with a group of artists that included Yori Saito, Kotaro Takamura and Tetsugoro Yorozu, and produced avant-garde oil paintings with intense colors and brush strokes. However, in order to find his own path as an artist, he explored realistic representation via meticulously detailed portrayal. This led him to discover Western classical painting and the works of artists such as Michelangelo and Dürer, and to establish his own original style. In 1915, he and other artists, including Shohachi Kimura and Sadao Tsubaki, formed Sōdosha, a circle which had a tremendous influence on young artists. In addition, the birth of his beloved daughter Reiko inspired Kishida to create oil paintings that drew upon his intense realism. After that, he engaged enthusiastically in uncolored sketches, watercolors, and Nihonga (Japanese-style paintings). In 1929 Kishida returned to oil painting and started to explore ‘a new path,’ but fell ill just after coming back to Japan from a trip to Manchuria and died in Tokuyama, Yamaguchi Prefecture. He was 38.
For this exhibition, works have been selected that serve as indicators of Riusei Kishida’s artistic path. The over 150 items that appear during the course of the exhibition are basically displayed chronologically. The aim of this is to showcase the repeated transitions he made during his lifetime and to honor his art. Kishida’s masterpieces have been gathered together under one roof to mark the 90th anniversary of his death. We hope that you will enjoy this very special exhibition.
* Some of the exhibits will be changed during the course of the exhibition. (First term: August 31 - September 23, second term: September 25 - October 20)

◆ A chronological view of his achievements!

Kishida would constantly change his artistic style and develop a new one once he had reached his intended goal. We know when almost all of his works were produced since they are signed and dated. Most of the exhibits here are in chronological order and follow the transitions in his art. We are sure that you will be able to discover the story behind each masterpiece and the reason it was created.

◆ Why is Riusei Kishida so important?

Japanese modern art is said to have followed in the footsteps of French modern art. However, throughout his entire career, Kishida chose his own path, based on his own value judgements, and developed his own art. His works, stance and activities became benchmarks for contemporary young artists and had a huge influence upon them.

◆ The next exhibition will probably be to mark the centenary of his death. Up until now it has been difficult to put together an exhibition of Kishida’s masterpieces!

There have been many exhibitions of Riusei Kishida’s works but this is the first one consisting solely of hand-picked masterpieces from the entire course of his career. It is intended to provide a chance to see his very best works, an opportunity that is unlikely to be available again in the near future. With the cooperation of various collections, Kishida’s works have been gathered here from all over Japan, from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the south. Don’t miss this major retrospective!

◆ Many masterpieces from the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, including a famous Important Cultural Property!

Roughly 30 exhibits in all are from the extensive collection of Kishida’s works owned by the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. They include Road Cut Through a Hill, an Important Cultural Property, and Reiko, Five Years Old, about which Reiko noted, ‘I have a feeling that this first (oil painting) of me at five years old was somehow special to my father’.

◆ Experience the same impact as when they were first unveiled!

Restorers checked the condition of Portrait of Bernard Leach, An Apple Exists on Top of a Pot, and Reiko, Five Years Old and found some damage, including that the varnish had yellowed with age, so restoration work was carried out on the three paintings. This means that the colors are now almost the same as when they were first painted and Kishida’s portrayals are more vivid and urgent.

* This exhibition will also be held in Yamaguchi Prefectural Art Museum (November 2 - December 22, 2019) and Nagoya City Art Museum (January 8 - March 1, 2020).
The items on display may vary slightly at the different venues.