Kanjiro KAWAI (1890-1966)
Bowl with marbleized patterning
Box with cobalt and trailed slip pattern
Bowl with iron and brush pattern
Talented potter once being called "a wizard of glazes." Born in Shimane prefecture. While being active as an up-and-coming potter in Kyoto, he was very impressed by the Yi porcelains exhibition organized by Soetsu YANAGI. He managed to determine a new direction in his art after having been inspired by the slipwares which Shoji HAMADA took back to Japan from England. He came to know Yanagi through Hamada. Together with the two, he also worked vigorously to set up the Nihon Mingeikan (Japanese Folk Crafts Museum). He received the Grand Prix at the Paris Exposition of 1937 and Milan Triennale in 1957. His former residence is now opened to the public as Kawai Kanjiro's House.
Shoji HAMADA (1894-1978)
Amber-glazed vase with iron and green pattern
White-glazed square dish with black pours
Bowl with iron and brush pattern
Great potter who disseminated the philosophy of Mingei movement in Japan with Soetsu YANAGI. In 1910, being inspired by Auguste RENOIR's word, he decided to become a potter. In 1920, he went to England with Bernard LEACH and set up a pottery in St. Ives. After England, he started his pottery in Mashiko, Tochigi prefecture. In 1926, together with Yanagi and Kanjiro KAWAI, he was involved in founding the Nihon Mingeikan (Japanese Folk Crafts Museum). Settled in Mashiko after 1930. Was designated as the first Living National Treasure in 1955. Became the head of Japanese Folk Crafts Museum in 1962. Received the Order of Cultural Merit in 1968. In 1977, he opened Mashiko Reference Collection Museum which housed the collection of folk crafts he collected from all over the world as well as his own works.
Bernard LEACH (1887-1979)
Oval bottle with incised decoration
"Griffin" Earthenware with galena glaze
Ash-glazed lidded flanged jar with wax resist
"Father of British Studio Pottery" and cast huge influence over the development of pottery in the 20th century. Born in Hong Kong and brought up in Japan. He also had lived in Singapore. Studied painting at Slade School of Fine Art in London. In 1909, he came back to Japan. He moved the kiln, which used to belong to his master, Kenzan the 6th (the successor of the great potter, OGATA Kenzan in the early 18th century),to Yanagi's residence and started to produce his own works in 1916. In 1920, he visited England with Shoji HAMADA and built his climbing kiln in St. Ives where he studied British medieval potteries and slipwares. Established the Leach Pottery in 1922. After the World War II, he paid a visit to Japan several times and introduced the Mingei Movement to the world through his books, A Potter's Book and Unknown Craftsman. In 1963, he was awarded the Order of C.B.E. by the Queen Elizabeth II.
Keisuke SERIZAWA (1895-1984)
Scene of Hamada Kiln, scroll
Highly evaluated textile designer who created his own pattern inspired from the hidden beauty of nature. Born in Shizuoka prefecture. Being fascinated by Okinawan Bingata dyeing technique from Okinawa, he was immersed in its study and eventually succeeded in creating his original Katazome (stencil dyeing). Also participated in the Mingei Movement and produced many daily textile works such as kimono, obi (sash for kimono) and noren (doorway curtain) with his bold and tasteful artistic sense. His uniqueness also can be found in Katazome calligraphy. He was designated as Intangible Cultural Asset Technique holder in 1956.
Tatsuaki KURODA (1904-1982)
Lidded box with lacquer and sea shell
Talented wood work and lacquer artist. Known for his unique and sophisticated technique which made use of natural beauty of the grain of wood. Born in Kyoto and stayed there his entire life. Produced a number of prominent works. Together with Soetsu YANAGI, Kanjiro KAWAI, Shoji HAMADA, Kenkichi TOMIMOTO, and Bernard LEACH, he joined the Kamigamo Craft Guild. He was designated as an Intangible Cultural Asset holder in 1970.
Shiko MUNAKATA (1903-1975)
Kegonfu (Kegon sutra)
One of the most internationally-respected Japanese woodblock artists of the 20th century. Born in Aomori. Came up to Tokyo to be a painter in 1928. After his works were highly evaluated by Yanagi and Kawai, he enhanced his friendship with the artists of the Mingei Movement. He received the Grand Prix in São Paulo Art Biennial in 1955 and was also awarded the Order of Cultural Merit in 1970.
Claude MONET (1840-1926)
A leading figure of Impressionism in the 19th century and also regarded as one of the most influential painters in art history. He was acknowledged as a painter who devoted his entire life to represent changing lights and colors in his paintings. The first Impressionist Exhibition in 1874 caused a huge sensation at the time when Academic art dominated the French Salon. It was his work Impression Sunrise (1872) by which the word Impressionism that provoked an art critic, Louis Leroy, to coin the term in his review. He depicted a series of paintings of the same motif to express the effect of changing lights and colors. Especially, in a series of Water-Lilies which was his masterpiece in his late years, he depicted water-lilies in his Japanese style garden in Giverny. Five works of this series are in the collection.