Yorozu, Tetsugorô [萬 鉄五郎] (1885–1927) By Loh Kazuhara, Eve
Yorozu Tetsugorô was a Yôga [Western-style] painter associated with the avant-garde movement during the Taishô period (1912–1926). His foray into art began when he started studying Ôshita Tôjirô’s A Guide to Watercolors [大下藤次郎]. Prior to enrolling at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts in Western-style painting, he attended meetings and study sessions at the Hakubakai [White Horse Society; 白馬会] (1896–1911). In 1907, he entered the Tokyo School of Fine Arts and graduated in 1912. A Nude Beauty (1912), his graduating work, garnered significant critical attention. The work is considered the pioneering work of Japanese Fauvism, and is now designated an Important Cultural Property in Japan. Yorozu’s works from this period demonstrate the influence of both Fauvism and Cubism upon his craft. His landscapes and portraits were well received at the Nikakai [Second Section Association] (1914–present), which showcased younger and more avant-garde artists’ works. Yorozu left Tokyo following complications with his health, but continued to exhibit at the Nikaten when possible. Although he was unsuccessful at his attempts to exhibit at the government-sponsored Teiten, Yorozu continued artistic explorations in Nanga [literati painting] and Nihonga [Japanese-style painting]. He passed away in 1927, and is often considered the pioneering artist of Japanese Cubism and Fauvism.