An Aloof Artist
Osuke Shimazaki Exhibition
Persistence and Liberation on the Sepia
2010.2.22 - 3.13

Altona in Hamburg / oil on canvas / 65.2×53.0cm / 1970


An exhibition of Osuke Shimazaki, an aloof painter, was held at HIRO GALLERY from Feb. 22nd [Mon.] to Mar. 13th [Sat.] 2010.

Osuke Shimazaki was born in 1908 as the third son of Toson Shimazaki, a great literary figure. But when he was 2 years old his mother died and he was separated from Toson. Then he was brought up by his relatives in Kiso-Fukushima, Nagano prefecture. He went back to Toson when he was 13 years old, and began to go to the Kawabata Art School with his brother, Keiji. But the two went through totally opposite paths in their lives. The elder brother Keiji studied abroad in France, then debuted at the art world from his early days and became a popular artist. On the contrary, the younger brother Osuke was devoted to the proletarian art movement of the avant-garde art movement, then went to Germany, and immersed himself in the art movement related to Bauhaus with Koreya Senda and others. He drew the battlefield in China during the war, and compiled the complete collection of Toson Shimazaki after the war. That is why his achievements as a painter had not been made public until 1970.

In Altona / oil on canvas / 38.0×45.5cm / 1970

After the compilation of the complete collection of Toson in 1970, he visited Germany again and painted about 30 pieces of sepia paintings. He made a persistent study of art on his “Note,” the notebooks that reached 164 volumes from 1951 to the end of his life. This sepia expression can be said the culmination of his career as a painter.

Osuke called the sepia “the color of solitude.” Throughout his life, he continually faced something that cannot be ignored such as family, society and art. The sepia is the color he chose to represent his own expression. Osuke’s art theory, spirit and life that should be called his self-portrait are put together on the surface only depicted by “light and darkness” of sepia. On his paintings, we can find tenderness in cruelty and hope in darkness.

In Lubeck / oil on canvas / 60.6×72.7cm / 1970

In this exhibition, 7 pieces of precious oil paintings from the 30 works made in Germany and 2 drawings were on display.

Term: 2010.2.22[Mon.] - 3.13[Sat.] Closed on Sundays
Time: 10:00 - 19:00

Cooperated by Okawa Museum of Art


1908 Born as the third son of Toson Shimazaki in Tokyo.
1910 Looked after by the relatives in Kiso-Fukushima, Nagano prefecture.
1921 Went back to Toson. And he began to go to the Kawabata Art School with his brother, Keiji next year.
1925 Became acquainted with Tomoyoshi Murayama and participated in the proletarian art movement.
1929 Moved to Germany and immersed himself in the art movement related to Bauhaus with Koreya Senda and others.
1944 Moved to China and sketched mainly the battlefields.
1945 His brother Keiji died in the war. He met Taro Okamoto in Hunan, China.
1948 Got involved in the editing of the 30-volume“Complete Collection of Toson Shimazaki” published by Shinchosha. After that, until the dust settles of the compilation of the complete collection in 1970, he had been swamped with the arrangement of his father Toson’s massive amount of data and unpublished manuscripts. From this year, he began to write “Note” to inquire into thought and art.
1963 In a private magazine group of poems, “Rekitei,” he exerted himself to establish “Rekitei Award.”
1970 Stayed in Germany for about a half year and made the works of landscapes in Germany. He finished about 30 works.
1971 Corrected the works made in Germany in the previous year, and the only one-man show during his lifetime, “Osuke Shimazaki Solo Exhibition,” was held at Yanagiya Gallery in Nihonbashi, Tokyo.
1979 Exhibited in “Tsunao Aida Exhibition.”
1992 Passed away due to heart failure. He was 83 years old.
2002 “-Phantom Artist who didn’t draw- Osuke Shimazaki Exhibition of Posthumous Works” was held at Okawa Museum of Art.

【Photos provided by Mr. Sosuke Shimazaki】