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Update:February 27, 2013

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MATSUMOTO Shunsuke "A Painter"

"A Painter"

MATSUMOTO Shunsuke (1912-1948)
1941, 162.4 x 112.7cm, Oil on board

Matsumoto Shunsuke was born in Tokyo but raised in his father's home prefecture of Iwate. His paintings stand in contrast to those that appeal to the viewer with contrasts of color and a bold and free touch. This work, A Painter, is a good example, with its largely brown color scheme showing by no means a wide range of colors. At the same time, however, it is not at all dull or simplistic, with its rich variations down to the finest details and its shadings of reddish and bluish color in different areas. The thin, black lines with which the details are drawn have great delicacy. It seems to be Matsumoto's attention to the finest effects of his expressive means that give his works their special quality that is quiet but rich in nuance.
A Painter was shown in the 1941 Nika Exhibition. This painting which is at once a self-portrait, a family portrait and an urban scene, not only surprises the viewer with its wealth of detail but also achieves an overall symbolism. This same year, Matsumoto wrote an article titled Living as a Painter in opposition to the article Art and the National War Effort that appeared in the January issue of Mizue magazine. This implies that when he was working on this painting Matsumoto was very conscious of the question of what one's individuality meant in a time when efforts were being made to incorporate even painters in the nationalist regime's war effort.