Studies on Paper & Oil Paintings
October 17- November 10, 2001
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|I cant help being overwhelmed by the greatness of the Roman Empire The baths of Caracalla, the Coliseum. The moon shining through the pines of Rome.||I overlook Florence, the city of Michelangelo; the Ponte Vecchio of Dante spans the gently-flowing Arno, reflecting the setting sun.||[In Toledo] I sketch all day everyday. This great city of El Greco was also beloved by my late teacher, Kurihara-sensei.|
- Michio Takayama, Personal Reflections in Europe, 1970
|Michio Takayama preferred toast with marmalade and a cup of strong coffee to the traditional Japanese rice-based breakfast. He donned a black beret. And his technique of thick application of oil using a palette knife traced its origins back to the French painter of landscapes and nudes, André Dunoyer de Segonzac. It comes as no surprise then that it was Michios desire to visit Paris and see and sketch the historic landscapes and cityscapes of Europe.|
In 1956, Michio and his wife Yaye crossed the Pacific to Los Angeles to attend their daughters wedding with the intention of continuing on to Europe. They did eventually cross the Atlantic, but not until 1970. By that time, after a decade in Los Angeles, they had moved to Taos, and Michios art had adopted the color palette of the Southwestern U.S. and had abstracted away from the landscapes of his training. Perhaps it was for these reasons that the Southern countries Italy and particularly Spain inspired him the most. Paris was a great disappointment.
In October 1970, Michio and Yaye sailed to Naples aboard the Michelangelo, with Taos painter Robert Ellis, his wife Rosa and their daughter. They traveled in Italy, Switzerland, Austria, southern France and Spain with the Ellis family, and later on their own to Paris, through the end of December.
|Michio and Yaye returned to Europe in 1984, this time accompanied by their son Masami and his family. On that trip, he had a chance to visit cities and sites he had missed the first time, including Bern -- birthplace of Klee --, Cezannes studio and home, and Van Goghs asylum near Aix-en-Provence. The sketches in this collection, however, were created primarily on the first visit, in 1970. Michio did not intend his drawings to be finished works and never showed nor sold them. They were studies for his medium of choice, oil on canvas, and he continuously returned to these drawings for inspiration.|
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