Photo/Illutration“Kumo-waku Yama” (1911), Kaita Murayama's oil painting to be put on public display for the first time (Provided by the Okazaki World Children’s Art Museum)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

OKAZAKI, Aichi Prefecture--Previously unknown paintings by poet and artist Kaita Murayama (1896-1919) will go on display for the first time at a museum here next month.

The Okazaki World Children's Art Museum will host a special exhibition from June 1 to July 15 of the roughly 130 works, officials announced.

While Murayama, a native of Okazaki, lived a decadent lifestyle that claimed his life at the young age of 22, the newly identified works are said to show his innocent side.

According to the museum, Murayama's cousin and printmaker Kanae Yamamoto discovered his talent when Yamamoto met Murayama when he was 14. Yamamoto gave the youngster an oil painting tool set and encouraged him to pursue a career in painting.

Murayama moved to Kochi and Kyoto prefectures due to job relocations of his father, who was a teacher, before moving to Tokyo at the age of 18. He went on to produce paintings and poems, but was addicted to alcohol and died of tuberculosis pneumonia.

His representative works include the watercolor paintings “Teien no Shojo” (Girl in a garden, 1914) and “Kanna to Shojo” (Canna and a girl, 1915), as well as the oil painting “Yubari-suru Raso” (Naked monk urinating, 1915), all created after he came to Tokyo.

The 130 or so paintings had been kept in a house of his classmate from the then Kyoto Prefectural No. 1 Junior High School and elsewhere.

According to Yasuharu Muramatsu, the acting vice director of the museum who is engaged in research on Murayama, the newly identified works include sketches, drawings and 10 oil paintings from his early days.

An oil painting titled “Kumo-waku Yama” (Mountain with gathering clouds) was done in 1911 when the artist was around 14, confirming that Murayama was working with oils before he came to Tokyo.

As Murayama pursued realism in many of these paintings, they give a different impression of the artist, who is mainly known for his wild style, Muramatsu pointed out.

The majority of the 130 pieces are pastel paintings. Some are done in minute detail based on perspective, showing that the artist was trying to devise unique ways to fix pastels, the expert said.

“At first glance, the paintings appear to have been drawn out of spur-of-the-moment emotions, but the previously undisclosed works show his innocence, reverence for nature and diligent side,” Muramatsu added.

(This article was written by Haruka Ono and Eriko Chiba.)