self portrait (1916) by Kaita Murayama. He would have been 19.

One hundred years ago, on a cold February in 1919, the artist and poet Kaita Murayama left his house near current-day Yoyogi (Tokyo) and wandered into the cold night. He was discovered in a field early the next morning around 2AM and was pronounced dead shortly after. He was only 22 years old.

“Canna and a girl” (1915)
“Naked monk urinating” (1915)

As an artist, Murayama painted in a muscular, robust and emotional style. It’s almost reminiscent of current-day art comics. And he led a tumultuous life. He was known as a raging alcoholic, had numerous love affairs and break-ups and, at some point, contracted tuberculosis. His artistic style and lifestyle has fed a fascination around him by scholars and historians alike.

Now, a new trove of previously unseen works are planned to go on display in an exhibition at the Okazaki World Children’s Art Museum, located in the town where the artist was originally from. The exhibition will include roughly 130 pastel paintings that had been kept in the home of a classmate. According to museum curators there are many works depicting nature that show a softer, gentler side of Murayama that contrast starkly with the more common wild image.

The exhibition will run from June 1 – July 15, 2019.

Above: “kumo-waku-yama” (1914) and below: “kanna” (1914), both of which will be shown for the first time.