1965 | acrylic on canvas | 181.8 x 227.5 cm


Commentary on work

Yoshihara Jiro was consistently an avant-garde painter, through both pre-war and post-war periods. The painting Work is one of his best known from the series of “circles” that he settled on after experimenting with many different styles. At first glance, the work appears as if it was painted with a single stroke of a big brush with sumi ink; however, as this circle is 180cm in diameter, such an approach would not have been feasible. In fact, the borders between the white and the black that appear to be the product of a vigorous brushstroke are carefully calculated, and the details are painstakingly finished. As Yoshihara had been involved in Bokubi, the magazine of avant-garde calligraphy, it is possible to point to the influence of calligraphy on his paintings with circle and kanji (Chinese character) motifs in his later years. With the universal form of a circle as his motif, Yoshihara combined the action-painting of the West with the brush work in the East to create a totally new style.

Brief biography of artist

YOSHIHARA Jiro (1905–1972)

Born in Osaka. In 1928, he graduated from Department of Commerce, Kwansei Gakuin University and held a solo exhibition in Osaka Asahi Kaikan. In 1934, following advice from Foujita Tsuguharu (Leonard Foujita), he sent his paintings to the Nika-kai and they were selected for the 21st Nika Exhibition. In 1938, he was involved in organizing the Kyushitsu-kai group with avant-garde artists of the Nika-kai. In 1952, he was involved in forming Gendai Bijutsu Kondan-kai (Genbi) as an organizer. Then in 1954, he organized the Gutai Art Association (Gutai) and devoted himself to the group as its leader. He organized the Gutai Art Exhibitions, from the 1st to the 21st, in Japan and abroad. In 1962, he opened the Gutai Pinacotheca, Gutai’s exhibition space in Nakanoshima, Osaka. He won the golden award at the Triennale-India in 1971. The following year, he died in Ashiya, Hyogo prefecture at the age of 67.

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