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Born in Kyoto to a successful sake producer, Hisako Kajiwara was a nihonga (Japanese-style painting) artist specializing in bijin-ga. After training with Kikuchi Keigetsu and Chigusa Soun, Kajiwara debuted in 1918 at the Kokuga Society in Kyoto. In her early career, she broke from genre standards to capture a more inclusive, realistic spectrum of femininity as a member of the Humanist school (jinsei-ha). These works were criticized for their “grim” realism. Following her father’s bankruptcy in 1929, financial necessity led her to back to the elegant beauties that dominated the bijin-ga genre. It was not until the end of her career that she once again returned to more complex depictions of womanhood. While Kajiwara focused on nihonga, over the course of her career she completed several woodblock prints as well.
Why shouldn't art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world. - Pierre-August