(Japanese, 1893-1962)
signed 'Zenz Kojima' (lower left)
oil on canvas
71.5 x 59.5 cm. (28 1/8 x 23 3/8 in.)
Painted in 1957
Private Collection, Japan
Committee to Publish Works of Zenzaburo Kojima c/o Gallery Kojima, Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Painting Works of Zenzaburo Kojima, Tokyo, Japan, 2012 (illustrated, plate 1085, p. 101).

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Eric Chang
Eric Chang

Lot Essay

Dahlia (Lot 125) was painted by Kojima during the Ogikubuo Era. In July of 1951, Kojima relocated from Kokubunji to Ogikubo to find a new source of inspiration. Upon moving to Ogikubo, Kojima was eager to abandon subjects that he considered 'traditional beauty', of serenity and balance, and instead explore the fine line that separates balance and unbalanced. Due to ill health during this period, Kojima mostly focused on still life subjects such as flower, scenic landscape and portraiture (Fig. 1). The work presented here is from 1957, when his relative health was good, and his energy and spirit is expresses by his strong brush strokes and spectrum of colours.

Kojima's portrayal of flower consists of a flatten background, a patterned table cloth, an ornamental vase and the Dahlia flower. The tablecloths with plaid pattern which serve as a major element to his paintings, in which it often display contrasted patterns that breaks down the flatness of the background. In perspective the triangular formation of plaid pattern naturally draws the viewer's focus toward the Dalia flower, such composition arrangement is akin to Matisse uses of form and colour to present the flower. After returning to Japan from Europe, Kojimabegan to establish his own unique sensibility incorporated the colour scheme of Ukiyo-e artist Suzuki Harnobu while maintaining the Japanese artistic sensibility and aesthetic. Christie's is proud to present this still life painting from a private collection in Japan, which previously was also in the collection of Japan's FRB broadcasting company in Kyushu.

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