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TAKAHASHI Yuichi (1828-1894)
1881, 61.1 x 122.0cm, Oil on canvas
The Miyagi Prefectural Office building, painted here as it looked in 1881, was originally the Yoken-do educational building of the local Tokugawa period feudal clan and was destroyed by fire in July of 1945 in a bombing raid. Takahashi Yuichi was born in Edo, the old Tokyo, as the heir of a retainer of the Sano domain. First studying Nihon-ga painting of the Kano school, he is said to have changed to the study of Western style painting after being deeply moved by the realistic style of Western lithographs.
Studying at the Tokugawa government's institution of Western studies, and also receiving introductory instruction in Yokohama from Wirgman, Takahashi sought to pursue a style of Western realism in the oil medium despite the poor supply of information and materials available at the time. He is now one of the representative artists of the first generation of Japanese Western style painters. This painting was executed in conjunction with two scenes of Matsushima commissioned exclusively by the Miyagi prefectural government. Painted purely for the purpose of recreating the actual appearance of the building this painting employs the artist's powers in this realm to the fullest.