art history doesn't yet have a place for
the early 20th C. Japanese artists like
TOBARI Kogan (1882-1927)
because they're in a kind of nether world
between Europe and Japan,
and now, a hundred years later,
they have no place in either the history of modern art
or in Japanese traditional arts.
Tobari, in particular,
pursued a genre that feels like
a figurative variant on that rough
unfinished quality of Wabi Sabi
and maybe sometimes not so rough
and sometimes feeling like a Japanese variant of Rodin.
But often his pieces seem to be
like ceramic pots
that are morphing into figures.
(and this is such a fine portrait -- and pot !)
i.e. it's more about clay,
and less about flesh
And we also have graphic work from this artist,
like the above drawing
which I think is less crude
than it first appears
And he made woodblock prints !
In a style I've never quite seen before at the print galleries ...
something approaching magazine illustration.
He even published a "how to" book on the subject
What to make of these things ?
They're kind of down-scale
from the elegance of Japanese tradition,
"what do women really look like "
"here is a fantasy paradise of beauty
It's too bad he died so young,
just like his teacher,
OGIWARA Morie (1879-1910).
Both of them traveled to France and America.
Ogiwara had met Rodin -- and he eventually encouraged
Tobari to switch from painting to sculpture.