Bakusen, Tsuchida (1887–1936) By Loh Kazuhara, Eve
Tsuchida Bakusen was a Nihonga (traditional-style) painter from the Kyoto Painting Circle. He was also the leading founder of the Association for the Creation of National Painting [国画創作協会] [Kokuga Sôsaku Kyôkai] (1918–1928). Bakusen moved to Kyoto in 1903 to study at Suzuki Shônen’s [鈴木松年] (1848–1918) art school. He later joined Takeuchi Seihô’s [竹内栖鳳] (1864–1942) school, thriving under his tutelage in a nurturing environment. In the years following his graduation from Kyoto Municipal Painting College, where he studied from 1909–1911, Bakusen produced Nihonga works such as Island Women (1912), which were influenced by the French post-impressionists like Gauguin, Van Gogh, and Cezanne. Bakusen exhibited at government-sponsored Bunten and Teiten exhibitions, but his dissatisfaction with the former led to a hiatus during which he established the Association and exhibited only at its exhibitions, the Kokuten. Bakusen’s work comprises figure paintings, mostly of women or children in rural landscapes. Bathhouse Maiden (1918), declared an important cultural property, and Maiko in a Garden (1924) represent some of his masterpieces.