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Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Born 1900, in Tokyo.

Painter.

Kongo Abe spent time in France when Surrealism was emerging. The movement had a great influence on him and he introduced Surrealist ideas to Japan on his return.

Article

Toru Asanu

(b Fukuoka, Gunma Prefect., Jan 18, 1898; d Tokyo, Oct 16, 1992).

Japanese painter. In 1918 he entered the literature department of Tokyo University; however, a liking for sculpture made him turn his attention to fine art. Travelling to France to research European art (1924) caused his interest to shift from sculpture to painting. From c. 1929 he was influenced by Surrealism and, stimulated by the collages of Max Ernst, he produced such works as Another’s Love and Science Blinds Beauty (both 1930; Takasaki, Gunma Prefect. Mus. Mod. A.). In 1931, shortly before his return to Japan, he sent 37 Yōga (Western-style) paintings to the first exhibition of the Dokuritsu Bijutsu Kyōkai (Independent Art Society). The ironic, witty and sharp punning nature of these pieces had hitherto not been seen in Japanese painting. Their display caused a great sensation in Yōga circles.

Although the influence of Surrealism had already begun to permeate Japanese art circles, Fukuzawa’s return in summer 1931...

Article

Indian, 20th century, male.

Born 1924, in Nagpur.

Painter.

Gaitonde was a student at the art school in Bombay (now Mumbai), where he subsequently taught. He was inspired by traditional Indian art and European surrealist painters such as Klee and Miró. His work featured in several collective exhibitions in India and abroad. In ...

Article

Harry Rand

[Adoian, Vosdanig Manoog]

(b Dzov, Turkish Armenia, April 15, 1904; d Sherman, CT, July 21, 1948).

American painter of Armenian birth. One of the most illustrious artists of the post-war New York School, he began his life in possibly the most obscure circumstances of any international modern master. His father emigrated to the USA to avoid conscription into the Turkish Army in World War I; in the Turkish persecution of the Armenians, Gorky’s mother died in her son’s arms after a 120-mile march. With his sister (who later figured prominently in his paintings) Gorky made his way to the coast and then, by ship, to the USA, arriving at New York in April 1920.

Gorky settled into a community of Armenians in New England and attempted a reconciliation with his father, but when that failed he moved from Massachusetts to New York City (c. 1925). There he assumed his pseudonym, claiming to be a cousin of the Russian writer, Maksim Gor’ky whose name, however, was a ...

Article

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in the USA from 1972.

Born 1941, in Hunan.

Painter. Scenes with figures.

At the start of his career, Dennis Hwang used graphic techniques such as those used in batik in a so-called Abstract Surrealist style. He also wrote a book entitled ...

Article

Toru Asano

(b Kurume, June 18, 1895; d Tokyo, Sept 10, 1933).

Japanese painter. After leaving school in 1912, he went to Tokyo to study at the Taiheiyō Painting Study Centre and the Japanese Watercolour Study Centre. He painted in watercolour until 1918, when he began to paint in oils also. His early interest in Cézanne developed into Cubism. In Kannon (1921; Tokyo, N. Mus. Mod. A.), a Cubist technique is used in a work composed of both realistic and non-realistic images. In 1922 he received the Nika Prize for Burial (1922; Kyoto, Chion’in), which is in the manner of André Lhôte’s work, and he was one of those who founded the avant-garde group Action.

In 1925 Koga came under the influence of Paul Klee, producing works with fantastic, poetic qualities such as Moonflower (1926; Tokyo, N. Mus. Mod. A.) and Fireworks (1927; Kamakura, priv. col., see Furukawa, pl. 14); from 1929 he was drawn to Surrealism, producing works such as ...

Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Born 1924, in Tokyo.

Painter.

Kondo Komei graduated from the oil painting department of Tokyo Fine Arts University. His style is figurative, with surrealist overtones. He was accepted as a member of the Shinseisaku (Young Artists Association) where he exhibited regularly. In ...

Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Born 1935.

Painter.

Hideo Mori practises acrylic painting on canvas in a style tinged with Surrealism. He has belonged to the Ichiyo-kai society since 1969. He took part in the JAFA Salons in Marseilles, Munich, New York, Boston and Peking in ...

Article

W. Ali

[Mudarris, Fātiḥ]

(b Aleppo, 1922; d 1999).

Syrian painter and sculptor. Initially a self-taught painter working in a realistic style, he was inspired by Surrealism in the 1940s and 1950s, and he explained his work in verse and prose to the public. After studying at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Rome (1954–60), he returned to Syria and developed a highly personal style that he described as ‘surrealistic and figurative with a strong element of abstraction’ (see Ali, 1989, p. 131). Moudarres’s work was influenced by the icons of the Eastern Orthodox Church and Syrian Classical art, which he studied in the National Museum of Damascus. His work became increasingly abstract in the 1960s, although after 1967 he expressed political themes. From 1969 to 1972 he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His paintings have an accomplished sense of composition and balance of colour. As one of the leaders of the modern art movement in Syria, Moudarres trained several generations of artists in his classes at the College of Fine Arts at the University of Damascus....

Article

John Steen

(b Dordrecht, March 10, 1893; d The Hague, June 3, 1956).

Dutch painter and draughtsman. He first worked as a teacher in the Dutch East Indies (1916–38). Thereafter he lived in The Hague, where he taught drawing and history of art. He was self-taught and until 1930 painted primarily East Indian models and landscapes, in which Paul Cézanne’s influence is apparent. While on leave in Europe (1923–4 and 1931) and through reproductions, he came into contact with Surrealism, which was to have a crucial effect on his work. He had a one-man exhibition at the gallery J. H. de Bois in Haarlem in 1931. During his ‘blue period’ (1930–40) he painted his collection of East Indian masks and wajang puppets, often in close-up, as well as still-lifes. During his second Surrealist period (1940–45) the objects were placed in a fictive, external space. The works are full of theatrical elements and symbols of mortality, which are a response to the experience of World War II. After ...

Article

Shigeo Chiba

(b Toyama, Toyama Prefect., Dec 7, 1903; d Tokyo, Jan 1, 1979).

Japanese writer and critic. He was already fascinated by Surrealism when he graduated from the English Department of Keio University, Tokyo, in 1931, and had translated André Breton’s Le Surréalisme et la peinture (Paris, 1928) in 1930. He also had a profound concern for the visual arts, regarding Surrealism as a ‘metamorphosis of the power of poetry’. In his major work Kindai geijutsu (‘Modern art’) he discussed the opposition between abstract art and Surrealism as a means of identifying the nature of contemporary art. Because of his involvement with art movements, in 1941, with Ichirō Fukuzawa, he was arrested by the political police, who regarded Surrealism as a branch of the Communist Party, and he was detained for eight months.

After World War II and particularly during the 1950s, Takiguchi continued to be involved with art movements and wrote criticism in which he showed a sharp sensitivity capable of detecting the contemporary vanguard. His translations of work by ...

Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Born 1934, in Tokyo.

Painter.

Yamamoto Tei studied at the Tokyo university of fine arts. His style has Surrealist tendencies. From 1964 he took part in group exhibitions, notably the Exhibition of Japanese Contemporary Art and the Exhibition of Young Artists in Tokyo. He also held several solo exhibitions....

Article

Yasuyoshi Saito

(b Tokushima Prefect., Oct 8, 1919; d Kanagawa Prefect., Nov 23, 1986).

Japanese painter, printmaker, teacher and collagist . In 1937 he graduated from the Kagawa Prefectural Technical School, and the following year he went to Tokyo and studied at the Fukuzawa Institute for the Study of Painting, where be became fascinated by Surrealist painting. In 1939 his military service took him to China, where he served in the Sino-Japanese War (1937–45). His experiences of the atrocities of war deeply affected him, and he became vehemently anti-war. In 1946 he was involved in forming the Nihon Bijutsukai (Japan Art Society) and in 1947 he helped found the Zen’ei Bijutsukai (Avant-garde Art Society). In 1953 he took part in the first Nippon Ten (Japan exhibition), showing Tale of Akebono Village at Dawn (1953; priv. col., see exh. cat., p. 37), which portrayed with black humour an uprising of villagers protesting at repression.

Yamashita’s commitment to Surrealism became total, and he was determined to expose social injustices through his style of painting (e.g. ...