Thursday, January 27, 2011

Matazo Kayama

Matazo Kayama (1927-2004) was born in Kyoto, the son of a designer of Kimono. 
He used to play in his father's studio, and loved to see him and his disciples
at work sketching and painting. He also learned a lot from his father's collection 
of international art books. Kayama started making art, and when he was 13 years old
he entered the Japanese Painting Academy in Kyoto. In 1944 he went on to study 
traditional Nihonga techniques at Tokyo National Academy of Fine Arts, at a time 
when the country was in the grips of World War II. His father died at the end 
of the war, but Kayama managed to keep studying art in Tokyo 
while helping his mother and younger sisters in Kyoto. 

 A Thousand Cranes, 1970, a pair of six-fold silk screens, 1.6 x 3.7m each
(click on the image to enlarge)

Kayama became a famous painter in his early 30's and held his first personal exhibitio
abroad in New York in 1961. Animals were one of his favorite themes throughout his career, 
while his sources of inspiration shifted from modern Western art to traditional RImpa Japanese 
painting and Chinese ink paintings. All of these influences were reinterpreted through Kayama's 
own refined and innovative style. His work has been exhibited at the Central Museum of Beijing 
and the British Museum, and in 2009 a large retrospective was held at Tokyo's National Art Center.

thanks to Sandi Vincent for this image


  1. Hello,
    I am so glad I found you blog. Such inspiring pictures you are sharing.
    Thank you very much. I will come visit a lot!

    grazie mille
    joana (da Portugallo)

  2. J'aime beaucoup. Merci de ces choix magnifiques.

  3. Olga, Dom and Joana, many thanks for your comments!

  4. I first met his work when I was reading a book. He worked its cover design. Since then I'm a big fan of his works! x

  5. These are so beautiful and inspiring. Thank you!

  6. I have a paint from Matazo. For sale. Cranes Rondo. Pls email for futher info.



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