Abstract Bamboo | Kubo Kichiro (b.1942) | c.1960 Japanese folding screen



Kubo Kichiro (b.1942)  久保 吉郎


Mid-20th century, circa 1960

Two-panel screen. Mineral pigments and ink on paper.

Signed: Kichiro  吉郎

Sealed: Kichiro  吉郎


H. 152.5 cm x W. 143.5 cm (60” x 56.5”)

Price: USD 11,000

Here the Japanese nihonga artist Kubo Kichiro suffuses the reality of nature with bold color field composition that transforms the figurative painting to appear almost like an abstract painting. This simple and direct composition conveys its own delicate sense of moment and the duration of time, which is informed by the transient fallen leaves and the mottled trunks. The vibrant and saturated greens, purples and aquamarines take us away from colors traditionally associated with the depiction of bamboo. The artist employs the use of stylized rather than representational expression, in which the fallen leaves are mere outlines and the bamboo trunks consist of textured and overlaid mineral pigments.

Abstraction in Japanese painting came into vogue during the 1950s and 1960s. This reawakening was informed by an awareness of early pioneers like Fukuda Heihachiro (1892-1974) who had fused Japanese nihonga with abstraction in the 1930s and 1940s. The present work is strongly connected to the Kyoto artist Heihachiro’s early exploration and abstraction of bamboo in the 1940s.

Kubo Kichiro was born in Kyoto in 1942. He studied painting under the avant-garde artist Domoto Insho and was a member of his painting group Tokyu-Sha. Kichiro is a member of the Kyoto Art Institute. He is an ancestor of the artists Suzuki Shonen and Suzuki Hyakunen. He was a regular exhibitor with the national Nitten organization, exhibiting on 17 occasions. He exhibited with the spring Nitten on 24 occasions.