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TAKEHISA Yumeji (1884-1934)
1914, 117.0 x 40.2cm, Color on silk, hanging scroll
The Amae-Shimada Collection
Takehisa Yumeji was born in Okayama Prefecture. Never receiving formal academic-style education in painting, Yumeji won popularity as a painter through mass media such as newspaper illustrations, printed picture postcards and the publication of illustrated poetry collections. Holding to the ideal of integrating life and art, Yumeji involved himself not only in painting but commercial design and graphic design as well. Like the paintings he painted, his path as an artist was recognized for the way it departed from the norms of the era.
At a Glass Wholesaler in Summer is a work from 1914 when Yumeji was at the peak of his popularity as a painter of what became known as "Yumeji beauties;" women with thin bodies and large eyes filled with sweet sorrow. This same year the artist opened a store named Minato-ya in Tokyo and filled it with accessories and graphic works of his own design. It is said that these items became popular among young women who sought to make themselves out in Yumeji style. In the young woman in this painting with her infectious atmosphere of fleeting innocence that drew people's sympathy, we get a glimpse of the Yumeji world that became the style of the times.