The influence of France on the Meiji born Japanese artist
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The Japanese artist Takeshiro Kanokogi was born in 1874 during the infancy of the Meiji Restoration that began in 1868. Yet, by the time of his death in 1941, much had changed about Japan. Therefore, one can only imagine how he felt about the shifting sands of modernization, reaching-out culturally and politically, to nationalist and socialist tendencies that impacted greatly on Japan in the 1930s.
Hence, turning the clock back to the Meiji Restoration then Takeshiro Kanokogi followed in the footsteps of many Japanese artists by traveling to Europe. Not surprisingly, the pulling power of Paris appealed greatly to Takeshiro Kanokogi and other Japanese artists.
During his time in Paris, the architectural and cultural differences from his native Okayama Prefecture were enormous. Despite this, he was open to learning new ideas and absorbing the changing cityscape and landscape.
Internally, it is known that Takeshiro Kanokogi studied in Osaka with artists including Matsubara Sangoro and Koyama Shotaro. While, externally, he was blessed to study under Jean-Paul Laurens and Emile-Rene Menard in Paris. Therefore, the diverse nature of Osaka and Paris impacted on Takeshiro Kanokogi to varying degrees – while the Academie Julian in Paris was extremely important to this intriguing Japanese artist.
It is unknown if the anti-clerical and strongly republican Jean-Paul Laurens impacted politically on Takeshiro Kanokogi – even if it was only minimal. However, his passion for art must have impressed Takeshiro Kanokogi because his reputation at the Academie Julian was extremely high.
Takeshiro Kanokogi also studied under Emile-Rene Menard. This individual often saw famous artists including Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Jean-Francois Millet, and several painters belonging to the art world of Barbizon painters during his early childhood. Hence, the Realism of Barbizon painters, the anti-clericalism of Jean-Paul Laurens, and the clear classicism that inspired Emile-Rene Menard opened new artistic and political concepts to Takeshiro Kanokogi.
Overall, the legacy of Takeshiro Kanokogi belongs to his landscapes, figure art, portraits, and seascapes in the style of Western art.
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