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The Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama (MOMAW)
1-4-14 Fukiage
Wakayama
640-8137, JAPAN
tel: +81 73 436 8690     fax: +81 73 436 1337
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Eitaro Ishigaki Retrospective
Date: 3 Sep - 25 Oct 2013

The Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama (MOMAW) introduces the achievement of Eitaro ISHIGAKI, in commemoration of the 120th anniversary of his birth.

ISHIGAKI, a Taiji-town (Wakayama) - born emigrant to America was active mainly in New York from 1920's to 1940's. From Wakayama, especially from the southern region, not a small number of people emigrated to America. Among them were along with ISHIGAKI, Seimatsu HAMAJI (1885-1947) and Henry SUGIMOTO (1901-1990), who also played active roles as painters in America. Before the War, as the center of Art was in Europe, chiefly in Paris, the history of Japanese Modern Art is described with artists having studied and returning from there in large part. It is of course the significant history, but we regard the footmarks of Japanese artists in America as another history of Japanese Modern Art, that should not be missed. As the Museum in this region with such background, we keep researching, collecting and exhibiting their activity, in order to pass their achievement down the generations.

For many emigrant-artists, the purpose of settlement was not studying art, but living. ISHIGAKI also dropped out of Shingu Junior High School at the age of fifteen in 1909, and moved to America to work. Changing jobs frequently, he attended San Francisco Institute of Arts and Art Students League of New York, and began his career as a painter. Almost in tandem with the Russian Revolution, he became aware of Socialism in the wake of meeting Sen KATAYAMA (1859-1933). ISHIGAKI portrayed people's life in 1920's and achieved recognition as a so-called Social-scene artist. From 1930's after the Depression, his theme became the issues in America of the day like unemployment or racial discrimination, and the impact of Mexican muralista art movement sized up his painting. After the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War and the Pacific War, he painted many works appealing for antiwar and antifascism.

In this exhibition, ISHIGAKI's life in the turbulent times is presented. The section of his coevals like Seimatsu Hamaji and Henry Sugimoto gives depth to the show. In addition, newly-discovered materials of the female sculpter Gertrude Boyle (1878-1937) who had a great influence on ISHIGAKI are exhibited with the cooperation of Taiji Ishigaki Memorial Hall.

This is the retrospective show that is the first time in sixteen years after the exhibition at MOMAW in 1997, Japan in America: Eitaro ISHIGAKI and Other Japanese Artists in the Pre-World War II.

*image (left)
Eitaro ISHIGAKI, Street, 1925,
oil on canvas,
collection of the Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama

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