Yanagihara Yoshitatsu is one of the most important representational sculptors in postwar Japan, and he enjoys a high reputation in the art world.
Yanagihara, who originally hails from Kobe, began by studying Japanese-style painting, but he decided to become a sculptor after seeing photographs of the work of Rodin and Bourdelle. He studied sculpture at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts and started showing his works at exhibitions hosted by the Society for National Painting and the Shin Seisaku School Association. Unfortunately however, almost all of his early sculpture was lost in a fire after World War II.
In 1951, he was profoundly impressed when he saw the work of several French sculptors in a exhibition hosted by the Salon de Mai in Tokyo, and this helped encourage him to go to France in 1953.
After returning to Japan in 1957, he produced numerous sculptures of women, crows, and pigeons. These works reflect Yanagihara's deep insight into nature, and they show a superior ability to produce precise, sensitive forms with a degree of tension.
On the twentieth anniversary of the opening of our museum, Yanagihara Yoshitatsu bequeathed us over seventy sculptures and several hundred sketches that document the entire span of his career. In order to share these wonderful pieces with the citizens of our prefecture, we have started displaying them in the museum, but we also hope that by publishing some of them in this catalogue, we will help you, our readers, experience the magnificent beauty of Yanagihara's art.
Mie Prefectural Art Museum