Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
Autumn 2007, vol 5 no 3


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Tateishi Harumi


Painting on paper in mineral pigments mounted as a framed panel, depicting hunters in the snow. Signed on the lower left with a seal form signature by the artist: Harumi (Tateishi Harumi, 1908 - 1994). Showa 14 or 1939.

Titled: Karyudo or Hunters, this painting was first exhibited at the 3rd Shin-Bunten in 1939, when it was acquired directly from the artist by the art patron and collector Hosokawa Rikizo. Along with the rest of his painting collection it entered the Meguro Gajoen Museum Collection after the War, from which it was acquired by Kagedo in 2003. It is illustrated in the Nittenshi, volume 13, page 410, number 105, and in Tateishi Harumi Ten, page 38, number 26.

For biographical information, cf. number 9 in this catalogue.

For other paintings by Tateishi Harumi, c.f. numbers 9, 11, 12, 15 and 33 in this catalogue. His work is in the collections of the Saga Prefectural Museum, the Tateishi Harumi Memorial Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Noted for his modernist portraits, Tateishi Harumi painted far fewer men than women. In fact few male portraits exist from this period. This painting of hunters derives from a sketch he made while hunting in the snowy mountains with fellow artists. The central figure is said to be his good friend, the artist Kawate Seikyo (1902 - 1966). Harumi depicts hunting in the contemporary and Western influenced style, not as a profession but as leisure. His portrait of his friend also shows the emerging influence of cinema on contemporary aesthetics. The figures seem posed heroically, larger than life, the image of male virtue. The style of painting is sharp and distinct. At the same time, as the contemporary critic Tomito Keiko noted in the November, 1939 edition of the art journal Toei, there is an underlying sense of humor (yumoa) in the depiction of the hunters, whose portraits he describes as "sure-handed (tegatai) and forthright (sunao)." (Commentary reprinted in the Nittenshi, volume 13, page 568). As viewers we feel Harumi's humor and fondness for his subjects, the apparent energy and passion of the dashing central figure contrasting with the young beater shivering from the cold in traditional straw boots.

109 1/2" high x 86 1/4" wide, inclusive of frame.
98 1/4" high x 75 1/16" wide, painting dimension.


Copyright 2007: Simply Haiku