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60. Fujii Tatsukichi (1881-1964)
Signed: -
Seals: -
Technique: sumi on paper 25 x 31.8
Mounting: blue brown brocade and bronze silk
148.5 x 54.5
Condition: fine

Tatsukichi was born into a merchant family in Hekinan near Nagoya. He is considered the father of the modern Japanese Arts and Crafts Movement. In addition, he was a pioneering advocate of the modern concept of design as an art form in Japan and one of the most important reformers of the traditional arts.

Tatsukichi’s creativity touched nearly every area: embroidery, dyeing, weaving, lacquer, pottery, papermaking, metalwork, woodwork, poetry, painting (in oils, as well as Nihonga), calligraphy, woodblock carving and printing.
In the 1920s, he wrote articles on home crafts for Fujin no tomo (The Housewife’s Companion), one of the most widely read women’s magazines of the day. He also held the first professorship of design at the Imperial Art School (the present Musashino Art University). His influence was enormous.

According to Fujii-sensei, a craftsman should be himself, an architect, and a sculptor at the same time. He strove to make an industrial product truly part of people’s lives. He created with the public in mind, and deeply felt that craft artists should not only strive for perfection in their chosen craft, but also show their own artistry and originality.

At the age of eleven Tatsukichi was apprenticed to a cotton wholesaler, who sent him to Korea three years later. His next journey took him to Taiwan, where he helped his brother with his business. After his return to Japan in 1898 he moved back to Nagoya to work at Hattori Qibao, a store where he learned cloisonné techniques. In 1905 the Hattori Company sent him to the USA to promote their cloisonné wares at an exhibition.

The following year, at the age of 24, Tatsukichi moved to Tokyo, where he taught himself Yōga (Western painting in oils) and a number of craft techniques. In 1912, together with the Yōga painter Kishida Ryūsei (1891–1929), the art critic Saitō Yori (1885–1959), and the poet and sculptor Takamura Kōtarō (1883–1956), he founded the Hyūzan-kai, the first organization in Japan dedicated to expressionism in all forms through all mediums. Next, Tatsukichi joined the struggle for the inclusion of the applied arts in government-sponsored exhibitions. When the government finally backed down in 1927, Tatsukichi refused to show his work, because he had been accused of selfish motives. He was given the professorship at the Imperial Art School, mentioned above, in 1929 and in 1932 he established the Mufuan studio in Ohara, where he headed the movement to reinvent the Japanese craft paper industry.

Many of Tatsukichi’s paintings in this catalogue are in old suiboku techniques, such as haboku (broken ink) and hatsuboku (splashed ink), often executed on used, old tarnished paper. Many of his paintings have been mounted with luxurious materials, special fabrics, special (Ohara) papers and often with ceramic roller ends (jiku).

The museum of contemporary art in Tatsukichi’s birthplace, Hekinan, is named after him.

Graybill ‘20
Oranda Jin ‘21 # 26 - 35
Merritt ‘ 92 p. 18
Tokyo 1997
Utsunomiya 2013
Tokyo 2014

Price: EUR 700 / USD 700