Subway (Communication in the Under Surface)
Oil on canvas
A Futuristic painting by a Japanese artist who was active in New York.
뉴욕에서 활동한 화가의 미래파를 연상시키는 작품
This is a bird’s-eye view of the inside of a subway station seen from high above. There are trains on both sides and the platform is full of people getting on and off. The way this artist captures the crowd is extraordinary. Hardly any of the people have their faces portrayed and neither are their hands and feet clear. It is almost as if a clump of enoki mushrooms were swaying in the wind.
Kotato was a nihonga (Japanese-style painting) artist who studied at Tokyo Fine Arts School, but he went to the United States and worked at Morimura Brothers in New York. He produced many designs to decorate ceramics made in Japan and exported mainly to the U.S. Meanwhile, he enjoyed the friendship of Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Toshi Shimizu, Eitaro Ishigaki, and other Japanese artists who were living in New York at that time. Being the eldest and financially stable, Kotato seems to have been active as a key figure among them. There are very few oil paintings by Kotato, but this painting demonstrates a bold style as if in concert with Futurism.