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A student of the bijin-ga painter Kiyokata Kaburagi, Kiyoshi Kobayakawa concentrated on delicate depictions of beautiful women across painting and print. At times, he broke from bijin-ga convention and portrayed his subjects in the styles of the early 20th century, such as dressed western clothes or smoking cigarettes. As a painter, he regularly participated in Teitan exhibitions from 1924 forward. He began to produce woodblock prints around 1927. As collector and admirer of ukiyo-e, he drew inspiration from the color and compositions of 17th-19th century printmakers. Between 1930 and 1931, Kiyoshi self-published the six-print series Styles of Contemporary Makeup (kindai jisesho). Half of the women pictured exude the particular femininity of the moga (“modern girl”), while the remaining three designs echo Kiyoshi’s contemporaries, featuring women in private moments in front of their toilette.
*There is some disagreement about his birth year.
It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process. - Max Eastman