Shu Takahashi

  
 

Shu Takahashi

b.1930 Japan


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The painter Shu Takahashi was born in Hiroshima Prefecture. He was good at drawing as boy but did not have a particular desire to be an artist. After graduating from the Hiroshima Prefectural Fuchu Middle School, he worked for a time in his home town where he met the painter Minoru Kitagawa. Through Kitagawa, he became aware of art and decided to become a painter. In spite of parental opposition he moved to Tokyo and entered the Musashino Academy of Fine Art. 

He soon dropped out of art school and went to work for a publishing company but became acquainted with the painter Kotaro Midorikawa, a member of Dokuritu Bijutsu Kyokai (Independent Artists’ Association). 


In 1951 when he visited the artist’s studio to ask him to do some illustrations. Midorikawa talked to Takahashi about the proper attitude for an artist and let him stay in his studio while teaching him how to paint. From this year on, Takahashi began to show his own paintings in the annual exhibitions of the Dokuritsu Bijutsu Kyokai and was on his way to becoming a professional painter.

The painter Shu Takahashi was born in Hiroshima Prefecture. He was good at drawing as boy but did not have a particular desire to be an artist. After graduating from the Hiroshima Prefectural Fuchu Middle School, he worked for a time in his home town where he met the painter Minoru Kitagawa. Through Kitagawa, he became aware of art and decided to become a painter. In spite of parental opposition he moved to Tokyo and entered the Musashino Academy of Fine Art.  He soon dropped out of art school and went to work for a publishing company but became acquainted with the painter Kotaro Midorikawa, a member of Dokuritu Bijutsu Kyokai (Independent Artists’ Association). In 1951 when he visited the artist’s studio to ask him to do some illustrations.  Midorikawa talked to Takahashi about the proper attitude for an artist and let him stay in his studio while teaching him how to paint. From this year on, Takahashi began to show his own paintings in the annual exhibitions of the Dokuritsu Bijutsu Kyokai and was on his way to becoming a professional painter.

 

In 1957 he made friends with the painter Morisuke Kodamaand the print maker Tetsuro Komai.  Under their influence, his line became sharper as he painted melancholy still lives and landscapes. He became more concerned with the texture created by paint on the canvas and began to choose simpler forms for his motifs.  In 1961, he made Moon Road, an oil painting with a texture like the surface of a road created with a variety of materials mixed in the paint.  This painting earned him the Dokuritsu Grand Prize at the 29th Dokuritsu Bijutsu Kyokai exhibition and the Fifth Yasui Prize.

 

The Yasui prize was a major turning point for Takahashi.  At that time, it was the most important prize for young representational painters, the firststep on the path to success. However Takahashi was already moving away from the realistic painting recognized by the Yasui Prize and beginning to paint abstract images. Although he was grateful for prize, it represented an obstacle for him. It inhibited him from being true to his own feelings and becoming an abstract painter.  Takahashi solved this problem by going overseas.  As a result of several fortuitous events, he went to Rome to study paintings in 1963. Rome may not have been the most important center of art world, but it had a vital art scene where traditional and progressive paintings were found side by side.  After taking years off to study, Takahashi began painting seriously again.He had the good fortune to be able to hold one-man shows in Rome, Venice and Milan. In Italy he developed a thoroughly abstract style, painting simple forms in primary colors rather than the dark tones typical of Japanese painting. 

He gradually made a name for himself in Italy and participated in the Venice Biennale in 1976.  His paintings of the eighties were composed of simply-shaped clolored areas of red and black defined by straight and curved lines.  These pictures reached an extream of simplicity, expressing the beginnings of life what the artist referred to as eros, with a feeling akin to primitive religion.  In 1981, Takahashi completed a major work in this style, Arco dell’Amore, which is now in the collection of the Fukuyama Art Museum.

 

Takahashi also held large solo exhibition in Japan in 1981 at the Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art and Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of Art and in 1989 at the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, the Kurashiki City Museum of Art. Later he was given a retrospective exhibition at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome and the Museo di Castello Romano, Rome in 1993. “Shu Takahashi: Painters with Collectors” is a restrospective exhibition, being held in Fukuyama and Sakura in 1997, which tells the story of the relationship between the artist and collectors living around the Japan inland Sea?... It contains 120 works from the 1950’s to the present.

 

Takahashi was able to develop a substantial reputation in Japan while developing himself to his work in Italy because of the support of collectors living near his place of birth, Hiroshima Prefecture. These collectors communicated with the artist in many ways.  They visited his studio in Rome, exchanged New Year’s cards with him, taked to him at exhibition openings, and looked at his works day after day in their homes.  Because of this support the painter was able to pursue his own path and make the necessary effort to find truth in his art. Takahashi believes that is important for a regional art museum to have a close relationship with local people and that it is necessary for the people to become aware of the museum as an intimate part of their living environment. This exhibition is intended to help realize this idea.

SELECTED WORKS

Origine
2009
125 x 320 cm
Origine
2009
125 x 320 cm
Aurora
2008
125 x 320 cm
Aurora
2008
125 x 320 cm
Ricordo Vago
2007
125 x 320 cm
Ricordo Vago
2007
125 x 320 cm
Primo Quarto
2009
125 x 320 cm
Primo Quarto
2009
125 x 320 cm
Zen o Buco Nero
1995
270 x 360 cm
Zen o Buco Nero
1995
270 x 360 cm
Fujin
1995
270 x 400 cm
Fujin
1995
270 x 400 cm

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