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KISHIDA Ryusei (1891-1926)
1913, 45.6 x 37.8cm, Oil on canvas
In the book Ryusei Paintings and Views on Art this painting is listed as Portrait of Sanada Hisakichi (With Neck Wrapping) and bears the note, "Painted in one day in April 1913." In his diary for the day April 4, 1913, we find the passage, "After twelve o'clock, Kimura and I took Sanada (who had come while I was out) home and painted his portrait." During this period Kishida sometimes painted two friends' portraits in one day, and he also did repeated self-portraits. His friends called this Kishida's "head hunting".
In 1912, a number of young artists strongly influenced by Van Gogh and Cézanne formed the Fusain-Kai, of which both Sanada and Kishida were members. In the rough brushwork and the expression of light and dark we can probably see what was the new trend in painting of the day. But this work has also been seen as the first step in Kishida's "shedding of his Cézanne influence"(quoting Kamon Yasuo). Soon his "head hunting" series gave way to a finely detailed pseudo-classicist style that led to the series of "Reiko portraits" of his daughter born the next year.