Kuroda Seiki (黒田清輝)

Seiki KURODA (August 9, 1866 - July 15, 1924) was a Western-style painter who came from Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Prefecture. He was born as a son of Kiyokane KURODA, a feudal retainer of Satsuma Domain and adopted to Viscount Kiyotsuna KURODA, who was Seiki's uncle and commonly called Kaemon in the Edo period. He was commonly called Shintaro.
While 'Seiki' was his pen name, his real name was 'Kiyoteru.'

Place of Origin

The real family name of the Kuroda family was Sasaki-Genji and was distantly related to the Kuroda family, the family of lord of the Fukuoka Domain. It was around the time when Kaemon KURODA took the position of Kiroku Bugyo (commissioner of records) and Jito (the estate steward) of Gamo-go that the names of Kiyoteru's ancestors became known in the history of the Satsuma Domain. Sainojo KURODA, Kaemon's younger brother and adopted child became a professor in place of Denzo YAMAMOTO during the Kinshiroku Kuzure (a family quarrel) and was appointed Jito of Chosa-go after his older brother's death. Shinnojo (who was also called Kaemon), the son of Sainojo served as Kiroku Bugyo and the second son of Shinnojo was father of Kiyoteru.

Brief Personal History

In 1872, he moved to Tokyo. After his graduation from elementary school, he attended Nishogakusha school, but stopped studying painting halfway. That was due to his becoming conscious of entrance into a school of higher grade, and he moved to Kyoryu Gakko (Kyoryu School), a preparatory school for examinees at that time and then immediately to Tsukiji Eigakko (Foreign Language School). After that, he attended Tokyo Gaikokugo Gakko (the Tokyo School of Foreign language) (under the old education system) and went to France in 1884, staying there until 1893. The first aim of his foreign study was to study law. He met, however, with Hosui YAMAMOTO and Masazo FUJI, painters, and Tadamasa HAYASHI, an art dealer in Paris, which caused him to make up his mind to become a painter in 1886 and he studied under Raphael Collin.

He came back to Japan in 1893 and then took an active part as an art educator. In 1894, he took over Seikokan Painting School of Hosui and with Keiichiro KUME, started a Western painting school, Tenshin Dojo, and established an idiom called pleinairism which adopted the influence of impressionism. In 1896, he started an art group, Hakuba-kai, in the form of becoming independent from the Meiji Art Society. Furthermore, in the same year, he became an instructor of the Western Painting Course which was inaugurated in the Tokyo School of Fine Arts, and decided the trend of Western-style paintings in Japan after that. In 1909, he was selected as a Teishitsu Gigeiin (Imperial art expert), the first person as a Western-style painter, and successively filled various posts including the President of the Imperial Art Academy. In 1920, he took a position as a member of Kizokuin (the House of Peers).

Representative Work
Dokusho (Reading) (1892) (Tokyo National Museum)
Chosho (Le Lever) (1895)
Kohan (Lakeside) (1897) (Kuroda Memorial Hall, National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, Important Cultural Property)
The model was Taneko (changed to Teruko later) KANEKO, 23 years old at that time and who later married Kiyoteru. It measures 69 centimeters (height) by 84.7 centimeters (width). The spot where she was painted is very close to the sightseeing boat landing of Ashino-ko Lake, Hakone, and the starting point of the Hakone Ekiden (long-distance relay road race).

(1899) (Kuroda Memorial Hall, National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, Important Cultural Property)
(1907 - 15) (Kuroda Memorial Hall, National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo)

[Original Japanese]