Yoshio Aoyama (Japanese, 1894-1996) "Nature Morte". Oil on canvas. 1981. Signed 'Aoyama' (upper left). Signed and titled 'Nature Morte' verso. 15" x 18" without the gold gilded frame.
Yoshio Aoyama is a character of great importance in painting of the early twentieth century in France, little known in the history of art, Aoyama was studied by the Spanish historian Luis Pérez Nieto, given his friendship with the widow of the artist, Marie Madelaine Lyvan.
Aoyama has a totally different style of painting than his Japanese predecessors like the painter Fujita, following a different path, because instead of introducing recognizable Japanese elements into his work, Aoyama chose to use them in a subtle way all along of her career. He never wanted to give up their tradition, yet Aoyama was able to adapt to Western culture by becoming an important part of the history of French painting of the twentieth century, forming part of the School of Paris .
Because of its longevity (Yokosuka 1894 - Tokyo 1996), Aoyama's work spans most of the twentieth century. One could say that in his painting there is an abstraction of a certain ideal transmitted by his ancestors, an ideal that manifests itself in the "joie de vivre" which is also present in painters like Pierre Bonnard , Raoul Dufy or his master Henri Matisse .
Aoyama's style discovers a law that gives constant power and great intensity. A beach, a garden, a street. these scenes are adapted to his own vision of the world full of spiritual values from their Eastern roots. There is a double choice: on the one hand the characters, and on the other hand the spiritual objective.
The first stage of formation of Yoshio Aoyama took place under the influence of the Japanese master Oshita Tojiro in 1911, Aoyama becomes orphan of father and mother, adopted by Tojiro like son and like apprentice. He was admitted in the school Nihon Suisaiga Kenkyusho .
From an early age, he devoted himself entirely to painting, in a quasi-self-learning. After he studied Fine Arts at the University of Tokyo.
His first teacher was Oshita Tojiro of a Western style, watercolor specialist (being promoter of the art magazine Mizu-e). This internship at the Tojiro workshop was devoted to copying classical studies and nudes and landscapes. He received a solid background in Western art and drawings, made with a firm and secure line.
His early works show a thick oil traits, typical of his training as an artist, which define the outlines, and a range of dark Asian colors such as brown, green, brown, ocher ... that give a cold melancholy to the first step of Aoyama.
At other times in its first phase the colors make the limits of the figures, creating very marked and delimited shapes, with a lack of color mixing. A technique that is linked to the traditional Japanese Oriental painting Ukiyo-e , literally ' floating painting' , where the backgrounds are completely flat and the figures seem to float on stage. There is also a clear influence of the kano- style screens and the screens of the Namban period ( 16th - 17th centuries). In this type of Japanese screens appear funds with golden clouds that fill the scenes with a mystical air.
Yoshio Aoyama came to Europe to complete their training. The passion for Europe was inherited from his father, who came from a samurai family who became secretary of the Japanese Navy Ministry. It was his father who instilled in him the love of travel and visiting foreign countries. The first European city where he settled was Paris, recommended by one of the first collectors, the Japanese Fukushima. Moreover, Paris was the capital of the world of art, where he had the seat of an international community called School of Paris created in 1910 by artists such as Raoul Dufy , the Spaniard Pablo Picasso, the Italian Amadeo Modigliani, the Belarusian Marc Chagall and of course the Japanese and the great ambassador of oriental art Tsuguharu Fujita, and the disciple of Renoir who Aoyama met in this period, the Japanese Ryuzaburo Umehara.
The School of Paris, located in the bohemian quarter of Montmartre, could be considered a real artistic tower of Babel, where mixed styles as diverse as Cubism, Modernism, Futurism, Primitivism etc. but with common features like fascination for the exotic, colorful. So Aoyama has come into close contact with the European avant garde.
After his stay in Paris, he decided to move, for health reasons, to a warmer place, the capital of the French Riviera, Nice. Aoyama continued his painting, and it was at one of his exhibitions that he met Henri Matisse. Matisse fascinated by his color, calmed calling Aoyama a marvelous colorist. Yoshio Aoyama becomes a disciple of the great French master. From 1926, his lessons with Matisse made a big change in the technique used. He began to create a new style full of originality, to recreate a fascinating and impressive world. Now, his figures will acquire the volume and the depth of the compositions. There is the impression of an eternal flux, the figures belong to his works, there is a superior Being who directs everything. It gives them a sense of lyricism, poetry awash with a certain mystery that is still incomprehensible to the viewer. This change in Aoyama painting is being done gradually, in the precepts of Fauvism, leaving behind their Japanese tradition. Now, the colors pink and blue are a constant in his work. This step is still a step in forming a personal style.
Dictionary Bénézit , Critical and documentary dictionary of painters, sculptors, draughtsmen and engravers of all times and all countries , vol. 1, Gründ editions
(es) Luis Pérez Nieto, Yoshio Aoyama. A painter of european inspiration.
(in) Roberts, Laurence, P., A dictionary of japanese artists: paintings, Scultures, Ceramics, Prints and Lacquers. , Weatherhill New York, 2000