Oil on canvas
45.5 x 53.0 Size (cm)
17.9 x 20.9 Size (in)Zenzaburo Kojima was born in the Fukuoka Prefecture in 1893 (died 1962). In his third year of junior high school, he created a painting club called the “Palette Club” where he familiarized himself with oil painting. In 1913, he left his studies at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Nagasaki Medical College (now Nagasaki University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences) and moved to Tokyo to pursue his ambitions of becoming a painter. He studied for a while at Hongo Institute of Western-Style Paintings, after which he began to engage in self-taught research and studies in painting. Soon later he returned to his hometown due to suffering from ill health, yet after five years of recuperation, he went to Tokyo once again to recommence his practice. In 1921 he was selected to exhibit his work for the first time in the 8th Nika Association Art Exhibition, and in the following year received the 9th Nika Association Award. In 1925, Kojima traveled to Europe to further his studies in painting. He returned to Japan in 1928, and despite becoming a member of the 1930 Association in 1929 along with artists Chikuma Suzuki, Usaburo Ihara, Akio Suzuki, Ikuo Kawaguchi, Ichiro Fukuzawa, Harue Koga, et al, he left the group in the same year due to being appointed as a member of the Nika Association. In 1930 he left the Nika Association and founded the Association of Independent Artists with Katsuzo Satomi, Tatsushiro Takabatake, Kotaro Minegishi, Takeshi Hayashi, Ichiro Fukuzawa and others with aims for a “truly global establishment of new Japanese art.” Thereafter, Kojima played an active role both before and after the war as one of the leading artists of modern Japanese Western-style painting, serving as a member of the jury for the Japanese Painting Exhibition Shinkou-Ten sponsored by The Yomiuri Shimbun in 1949, and in 1952, 1955 and 1957 exhibiting in The Mainichi Shimbun’s The Japan International Art Exhibition, whose 10th edition was later known as ‘Tokyo Biennale’.
In his early days after traveling to Europe, he engaged in studying Western classics. Drawing influence from the works of Michelangelo, Matisse and Derain, he created a number of paintings that applied the sense of movement observed in portraiture to landscapes and still life, while mastering a three-dimensional sense of expression that embodied both depth and volume. After returning to Japan he cited ink lines seen in Nanga and the expressions of color he had learned from the Rinpa School of Japanese painting and Ukiyo-e, presenting a unique painterly expression that aimed for the “establishment of Japanese-style Western painting" through introducing forms and decorativeness characteristic of traditional Japanese art into the context of oil painting.
Kojima’s solo exhibitions include the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, travelling to The Annex Museum of the National Museum of Modern Art (1964); Fukuoka Art Museum (1993, 2012); The Shoto Museum of Art (1998); Fuchu Art Museum (2007). His works are included in the collections of the National Museum of Korea, Seoul; the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Fukuoka Prefectural Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura & Hayama, Kanagawa; Mie Prefectural Art Museum; Busan Museum of Art; Pola Museum of Art, Kanagawa among others.