The World of Kozo Yokoi

Art, Painting

Calling him the Henri Rousseau of Japan may sound like a step too far, but the self-taught Kozo Yokoi (1889-1965) sure did hit some of the same notes as the famed French post-impressionist painter over a tumultuous career shaped by the twin disasters of the Great Kanto Earthquake and World War II. Like Rousseau, Yokoi employed a vivid colour scheme in his humorous but sharp, Western-style paintings, and the comparison can also be applied on a more general level: Rousseau never made much money from art during his lifetime, and Yokoi left behind a promising career in the upper echelons of the Tokyo art scene after 1923 and eked out a living by running street stalls and a secondhand bookstore. This retrospective, held to mark 50 years since the artist's passing, recaps his life and work with displays of over 200 pieces – some of them painted in his native Nagano, where Yokoi moved back after the war.


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