AMAMI, Kagoshima Prefecture--Paintings by Isson Tanaka (1908-1977), renowned for his natural landscapes of Amami Oshima island, will be exhibited outside Japan for the first time at an event in Paris this summer.

“It is an opportunity (for Isson) to be recognized as a world treasure,” said Midori Miyazaki, director of the Tanaka Isson Memorial Art Museum, which will present the paintings from its collection.

More than 20 paintings by Isson will be shown to the public as part of an exhibition titled “Fukami--Une Plongee dans L’esthetique Japonaise” (Depth: A plunge into Japanese aesthetics), which will run from mid-July to Aug. 18 at the Hotel Salomon de Rothschild in central Paris.

Born in Tochigi Prefecture, Isson lived in Tokyo and Chiba Prefecture before moving to Amami Oshima island when he was 50 years old. While working at a pongee factory, the artist created flamboyant and detailed paintings themed on the island’s nature.

A ceiling painting produced when Isson was living in Chiba Prefecture will be among the art pieces transported to Paris. Other works include paintings created on Amami Oshima island, such as “Yoju ni Tora-mimizuku” (A banyan tree and a long-eared owl), “Adan no Hamabe” (A beach with a screw pine tree) and “Amami no Onihego” (Flying spider-monkey tree ferns in Amami).

With his way of life often the focus of attention, Isson, who died on Amami Oshima island at age 69, is posthumously referred to as “lone artist” and “Japan’s Gauguin.”

“We’d like people to realize the sheer value (of Isson’s works) as paintings,” Miyazaki said. “It would be wonderful if people from overseas visited the island to appreciate Isson’s paintings following the exhibit.”

According to the museum, Tokyo University of the Arts professor Yuko Hasegawa, who has a worldwide reputation as a curator and serves as artistic director at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, will act as general planner of the Isson exhibition.

The exhibition will be held on the sidelines of a cultural and artistic event titled “Japonismes 2018: Les Ames en Resonance” (Japonism 2018: Souls in harmony) scheduled mainly in Paris from this summer to next spring to celebrate the 160th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and France.

In light of the 110th anniversary of the painter’s birth this year, the Tanaka Isson Memorial Art Museum is hosting a three-part retrospective exhibition until January 2019 to trace the life of Isson.

The first part, which brings together his paintings including those drawn during his childhood, will run until June 19. For more information, go to the website of Amami Park ( where the museum is located.