Born into a samurai family, Takahashi Yuichi (1828-1894) is a descendent of the Hotta Clan. Historical Japanese customs promote calligraphy and painting as indications of class and learning, so when Takahashi became interested in art at an early age, he was sent to the notorious Kanō school to study.
Among Takahashi’s accomplishments are attending the Paris World Exhibition of 1867 and portrait of the Emperor Meiji. He taught at the newly established Kobubijutsu Gakkō (the Technical Fine Arts School), and is considered one of the first painters to adopt oil paints in Japan.
His work exhibits some of the raw simplicity emphasized by the Zen Buddhism philosophy. I enjoy the confident bold strokes, slightly messy (dare I say) lines, and astoundingly plain yet diverse backgrounds.