The first public exhibition of a painting of a circus performer by Yumeji Takehisa (1884-1934), a leading figure in the Taisho Romanticism movement, began in Tokyo on Jan. 7.

The painting, titled “Circus,” had long been in the possession of manga artist Suiho Tagawa (1899-1989), known for his series “Norakuro.”

Tagawa’s family donated it to the Takehisa Yumeji Museum in Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward.

Takehisa is known for his drawings of beautiful women. “Circus,” however, features a girl performing an acrobatic move.

Based on the painting's signature, the piece is thought to have been drawn in the early Showa Era (1926-1989).

A note that reads “Yumeji Circus” is also seen on mounting for a scroll on the painting, but it is believed to have been written by somebody else.

As a young man, Tagawa ran a stall in a night market with some friends from the avant-garde art community.

There he met Takehisa when the painter bought something from his stall. Takehisa later invited Tagawa to his home.

After Takehisa died at age 49, Tagawa bought “Circus” from the artist's son.

Keiko Ishikawa, a curator of the Takehisa Yumeji Museum, judged the painting to have been completed in Takehisa’s final years, based on its brushwork and use of light colors.