椿 貞雄 ≪ 壺(白磁大壺に椿)≫TSUBAKI Sadao “Vase (White Porcelain Vase and Camellia)”

この1年半、美術館が遠い。心待ちにしていた展覧会の幾つかを、逡巡しながら閉幕までやり過ごす、という虚しさを繰り返した。折々に強いられる自粛。生きた表現に触れられないもどかしさが堪える日々に、ふっと本作のことが思い出された。椿 貞雄(つばき・さだお 1896-1957)による静物油彩画である。数年前、この作品を前にして私は、不穏にも「この絵を持って帰れたら…」としみじみ感じた。よからぬ思いが浮かぶほどにこの白磁は魅惑的で、離れがたく絵の前にとどまった。

本作で描かれているのは李氏朝鮮時代(1392-1910)の白色磁器、いわゆる李朝白磁である。無装飾・乳白色の姿が儒教思想の「清廉・高潔」に相応しいとして、15世紀頃から官窯での製造が本格化し、王朝を代表するやきものとなった。こうした壺は球体のフォルムから「満月壺」と呼ばれる。作者はそこに2輪の椿を挿した。

椿 貞雄は、山形県米沢市生まれ。雑誌『白樺』を購読する兄の存在もあり、18歳で画家を目指して上京。ほどなく画家・岸田劉生と運命的な出会いを果たし、生涯唯一の師として岸田に師事しながら、日本人による油彩表現の可能性を模索した。岸田の急逝後、1932年に出かけた欧州遊学では、西洋の古典絵画を目にする機会に恵まれ、ドラクロワ、ルーベンス、ゴヤ、グレコ等の絵画に触れた(※1)。本作が描かれたのは1947年、椿51歳のときである。

「僕は絵かきだからいろいろの写生素材が欲しい。色いろの壺や皿や布や椅子や古額縁やきり無く欲しい。(…)買って来た壺を机の上にのせて、こいつに牡丹をいけて描いて見ようと思うと胸がおどり牡丹の時季の来るのが待ち遠しい。この皿に果物をどんな風に盛って描こうかなぞと色いろに空想しているのはまことに楽しい。「今更李朝の壺でもあるまい」と僕を非難した批評家があるが、白い李朝の壺に椿の花をさして描くのはいつまでも楽しみなのだ。そしてその白さの持つ李朝の壺の魅力をどこまでも描写したい欲求を幾度描いても持つのである。」
椿 貞雄「盗欲」1938年9月(『画道精進』光風社書店 1969年)

実際に画布の上を筆が走るより前に、描くものを何度もその目でなぞり、時間をかけて「空想する」(構想を練る)姿は、いかに画家らしい。両手で壺を抱え、その重みを感じながら、穴が開くほどその質感を観察する時もあっただろう。時間や季節によって光が移ろえば、つややかな白磁の肌はさまざまな表情を見せたにちがいない。ここに描かれる複雑な色合いは、そうして画家が費やした「視る」時間の集積であり、その緊密さが絵画の現実性を宿しているように思われる。

画中の壺は、正面やや上から当てられた光によって、全体が明るく照らされている。部分的に青みが強く、燃焼不足による黄みがかった斑点もみられるが、単純に白色とは言い難い豊かな色相に、李朝白磁らしい素朴で凛とした佇まいが感じられる。画面いっぱいに収まる構図はやや息苦しさがあるものの、壺の重量感を強調させながら、なめらかな質感と見事な調和をみせている。

今さら奇妙な点に気がついた。高台の上、腰下にかけてわずかに陰影描写がされているが、それに対して高台は奇妙なほどに白い(※2)。ここにも影が落ちるのが自然だろうが、それを指摘するのは野暮だろう。人の心を動かす絵画に、必ずしも理屈は必要ない。再びこの神秘的な一枚と再会できたら、私はやはり、静寂の中でその美しさに深く胸を打たれるにちがいない。

 

東北福祉大学芹沢銈介美術工芸館 学芸員 今野咲

 

 

※1 例えば、オランダのアムステルダム国立美術館で見たレンブラントの《夜警》について、その感激を以下のように記している。「(…)レンブラントの最大の傑作「夜警」の前に立った時、僕は巨山にぶつかった様に威圧され息をのんだ。鉄槌で脳天をガンと一撃食わされたような気持であった。腰が抜けて動けなくなったような気持であった。その絵の前に立っている誰彼は敬虔な面持で、じっと画面に吸付けられるように見入っていた。室内はシーンと静まりかえって呼吸の音さえしなかった。」(椿 貞雄「勝負」1951年6月 『画道精進』(光風社書店 1969年)所収)

※2 椿は「物に影を造ると物それ自身の質感をかくす事になる」として、陰影描写を好まない傾向にあった。詳しくは「東西絵畫の相違及び現代油絵の東洋化と自分の仕事に就いて」(初出:『改造』第8号第5号 1926年5月 再録:米沢市上杉博物館発行『生誕120年 椿 貞雄展 椿 貞雄と岸田劉生』2016年)を参照のこと。

 

[参考文献]

『椿 貞雄『画道精進』 光風社書店 1969年
『生誕120年 椿 貞雄展 椿 貞雄と岸田劉生』 米沢市上杉博物館 2016年
『椿 貞雄 歿後60年記念 師・劉生、そして家族とともに』 千葉市美術館 2017年

 

[画像]

椿 貞雄《壺(白磁大壺に椿)》
1947年 72.7×60.6㎝ 油彩、カンバス
米沢市上杉博物館所蔵
画像提供:米沢市上杉博物館

For the past year and a half, the art museums have become distant. I have repeatedly felt the emptiness of hesitating to attend some of the exhibitions I had been looking forward to until they closed. From time to time, we all felt obliged to refrain from visiting places. In the midst of these frustrating days of not being able to come into contact with real expressions, I was suddenly reminded of this work. It is an oil painting of a still life by TSUBAKI Sadao (1896-1957). A few years ago, when I saw this work, I had a disturbing yet rather serious thought as to whether I could have taken it home with me. The white porcelain was so captivating that I could not stay away from it for a while.

The porcelain depicted in this work is white porcelain from the Yi Dynasty of Korea (1392-1910), the so-called Joseon Dynasty white porcelain. The undecorated, milky-white appearance of these porcelain wares was considered to be in keeping with the Confucianism of purity and integrity. Their production in official kilns began in earnest around the 15th century, and the pottery became the representative of the dynasty. Their vases are known as “the moon jars” because of their spherical shape. The artist arranged two camellias in it.

TSUBAKI Sadao was born in Yonezawa City in Yamagata Prefecture. Thanks to his older brother, who subscribed to the magazine “Shirakaba”, Sadao moved to Tokyo at the age of 18 with the aim of becoming a painter. Soon after, he had a fateful encounter with the painter KISHIDA Ryusei, and while studying under Ryusei, who was the only mentor in his life, Sadao explored the possibilities of Japanese oil painting. After Ryusei’s sudden death, Sadao went to Europe in 1932, where he had the opportunity to see Western classical paintings, including those by Delacroix, Rubens, Goya and Greco (*1). This work was painted in 1947, when Sadao was 51 years old.

“I am a painter, so I want all kinds of motifs for sketching. I want all kinds of things: pots, plates, cloths, chairs, old picture frames, and many more. (…) I can’t wait for the peony season to come so I can put the vase I have bought on my desk and paint peonies in them. It is a great fun to imagine how I shall arrange the fruits on this plate, and so on. There is an art critic who criticised me for using a Joseon Dynasty vase, but I will always enjoy painting camellia flowers in the white Joseon Dynasty vase. No matter how many times I paint it, I always have the desire to capture and express the charm within the white colour of the Joseon Dynasty vase.”
TSUBAKI Sadao “Toyoku (Desire for Stealing)”, September 1938 (in “Gado shojin (Refinement of the Way of Painting)” Kofusha Shoten, 1969)

It is typical of a painter that he would take time to “imagine” (or to develop a plan), tracing many times the smotifs with his eyes before actually running the brush across the canvas. There must have been times when he would hold the vase in both hands, feeling its weight and observing its texture piercingly. As the light changed with the time of day and the season, the shiny white porcelain skin must have taken on different appearances. The complex colours depicted here are the accumulation of the artist’s time spent “looking”, and it is this closeness that seems to give the painting its reality.

The vase in the painting is brightly illuminated by a light shining from slightly above the front. It is not simply white in colour, but has a simple and dignified appearance, typical of the Joseon Dynasty white porcelain, although it has a strong blue tinge in parts and yellowish spots due to a lack of combustion during the firing process. The composition, which fills the entire canvas, is a little stifling, but it emphasises the weight of the vase and harmonises well with its smooth texture.

I have now noticed an odd point. There is a slight shading above the base and below the waist, while the base is strangely white (*2). It would be natural for shadows to fall here too, but it would be rather nonsense to point this out. A painting that moves us does not necessarily need to be logical. If I were to see this mysterious painting again, I would certainly be deeply moved by its beauty in the silence once more.

 

KONNO Saki

Curator

Tohoku Fukushi University Serizawa Keisuke Art and Craft Museum

 

 

(*1) For example, he wrote about his impressions of Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch”, which he saw at the national museum in Amsterdam. “(…) When I stood in front of Rembrandt’s greatest masterpiece, The Night Watch, I was so intimidated that I gasped for breath, as if I had bumped into a huge mountain. I felt as if I had been hit by a mallet in the brain, as if I had lost my back and could not move. Everyone standing in front of the painting looked at it with a devout expression, as if they were absorbed in the picture. The room was so still and silent that not even the sound of breathing could be heard. (TSUBAKI Sadao “Shobu (Contest)” June 1951, in “Gado shojin” Kofusha Shoten, 1969)

(*2) Sadao tended not to like to depict shadows, because “if you make shadows on things, you hide the texture of the things themselves”. For more information, see “Tozai kaiga no soi oyobi gendai aburae no toyoka to jibun no shigoto ni tsuite (The Differences between East and West Painting, and the Orientalisation of Modern Oil Painting and My Work)” (first published in the magazine “Kaizo (Remodelling)” Vol. 8, No. 5, May 1926, reproduced in “120th Anniversary Exhibition of the Birth of Tsubaki Sadao: Tsubaki Sadao & Kishida Ryusei” published by Yonezawa City Uesugi Museum in 2016).

 

Reference

  • TSUBAKI Sadao “Gado shojin” Kofusha Shoten, 1969
  • “120th Anniversary Exhibition of the Birth of Tsubaki Sadao: Tsubaki Sadao & Kishida Ryusei” Yonezawa City Uesugi Museum, 2016
  • “Life as Painter: The Art of Tsubaki Sadao and his Family, and Mentor, Kishida Ryusei” Chiba City Museum of Art, 2017

 

Image caption

TSUBAKI Sadao “Vase (White Porcelain Vase and Camellia)”
1947, 72.7×60.6cm, oil on canvas
Collection of the Yonezawa City Uesugi Museum
Image courtesy of the Yonezawa City Uesugi Museum

 

Translation :Naoko Mabon (WAGON)