I like a
lot of different styles of painting. I have had an
active interest in art for the past few years, and
my tastes are still evolving as I learn and live
with my growing collection. I do not collect as an
investment but for the fun of it and to feed my
enjoyment for doing research and learning. Here
are some of my favorites. By the way, I am NOT the
wildlife artist of the same name.
unnamed, S. Wakaishi, 6" x 9", oil on masonite
Information about this artist is not
yet documented and comes from a variety of Internet
was born ca 1917 in Japan. He appears to have been
active from the 1940s through the 1960s. His style is
often referred to as "Japanese School" or "Japanese
Style". Framing labels on two tiles produced by
Wakaisihi in 1954 are from a framing shop at
Doi-Machi, Hakata, Fukuoka. One Internet source claims
that Wakaishi attended the Japanese Art Academy. He
seems to have painted primarily in oils and painted on
boards, canvas and tiles, and was fairly prolific.
There are numerous auction records for his work
outside of Japan. His signature appears to be
consistent, over three decades. He signed
"S.Wakaishi", with several distinctive characters in
the signature, followed by the year and a character
that I cannot decipher. His style was distinctive, and
slightly surreal. I would appreciate hearing from
anyone who has more information about this artist.
S. Wakaishi signature
I found these three paintings
at the local Goodwill. All three were nicely framed,
but due to mishandling by the Goodwill staff all of
the frames were marred too badly to be fit for
display. They had been stacked on top of one another
and the hardware for hanging them severely scored
the fronts of the frames.
There was a printed form with
notations in ink on the back of one of the paintings
from the framing shop that is in Indonesian. That
and the subject matter leads me to believe the
paintings are Indonesian.
All three paintings are signed,
but I cannot make out the signature. It kind of looks
like "G. SEDOKNA..." to me, but I can't really make it
out. Any help on this one would be appreciated.
Kajiwara Kango was born in Japan in 1887. He was a well known Japanese painter and I have found indications in various records that he was active in the Saga Prefecture and in Tokyo. I have found mention of dated paintings by him as early as 1916. Two of Kajiwara's paintings, one a self portrait, are part of the collection of the University Art Museum of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. He also taught art and one of his students was well known painter Tateishi Harumi (aka Haruyoshi) 1908-1994. Kajiwara painted portraits of many of the speakers of the National Diet of Japan. The Diet is similar to the American Congress. In 1947, Kajiwara painted a portrait of General Douglas MacArthur, a sign of respect and gratitude for MacArthur's prevention of a worker's strike. I have not been able to discover if MacArthur actually accepted the portrait, but guess he did, as it would probably have been an insult not to have accepted it. The offer of the painting was conveyed to MacArthur's staff by the Prime Minister of Japan, so it was not an insignificant act.
There are several
inscriptions on the back of the canvas, including
the artist's signature and the date "May 1949". It
is possible that the character in the upper right
corner is the title of the painting. Any other
information about this artist would be appreciated.
He is mentioned briefly on findartinfo.com and
artprice.com. I have found mentions in auction
records of other portraits and landscapes by him.
Kajiwara Kango died in 1958.
Teruyoshi Yukawa was born on
28 February 1916 in Japan. By Googling
Japanese baby name sites, I have concluded that this
is a male artist. There is a label, verso, with the
artist's name and a bit more information. This was
an ebay find and very inexpensive for an oil on
canvas in a nice period (1950s) frame. I bought it
as a research opportunity, figuring that the clues
from the label and the distinctive style of the
artist would make this a breeze to research. Boy,
was I wrong! I can find nothing about this artist.
The style is 1940s or 1950s, I think. It reminds be
a bit of a cameo. Any help in finding more
information about this artist would be appreciated.
This was an ebay find. The
seller read the signature as Tinh, but it looks like
Linh, to me. The seller claimed this was among many
pieces of art that came from the "Violante estate".
The Violantes were reportedly artists, art
collectors, and patrons of the arts and other
artists. There was an August J. Violante 1906-2001
who was a San Francisco commercial artist who is
mentioned in Hughes' California Artists and Davenport's
Art Reference and Price Guide. I like the
bright colors, motion, and subject of this piece. No
great hopes of finding out more about this artist,
as both Tinh and Linh are common names.
were quite a few artists named Kimura active when this
picture was created. I have not been able to attribute
this to any of them. It is either a woodblock print or
a watercolor, probably the latter. It is very nicely
done and obviously the work of a professional artist.
Any information on this artist would be appreciated.
I don't know anything about
these paintings. I am pretty certain they were
painted in Southeast Asia. I rode in similar three
wheeled bicycle taxis in Thailand and Vietnam. I
suspect they could also be found in Cambodia and
Laos. I purchased them from a lady who had inherited
them from a relative and knew nothing about them.
The oil seems to be painted on cloth that is laid on
top of some sort of mesh.
10" x 11", watercolor
This is a pretty classic scene
from anywhere in Southeast Asia. I suppose it could also
be the Philippines. These paintings are simple but very
nicely done and colorful. I like that they depict scenes
from everyday life. It reminds my of my time in
Again, nothing to show where
these were painted. I see a couple of different
styles of hats that were common in the Southeast
Asian countries where I lived. All three paintings
were done by the same artist and are signed, but I
cannot read the signature. Any help on this one
would be appreciated. Hard to say how old they are.
I would guess pre-1970s and maybe older.
W. P. Chun is a Singapore
artist who paints in watercolors and acrylics. She
is an associate member of the U.S. National
Watercolor Society. Her watercolors are generally
very loose and colorful. They make me smile. She
sells her works on ebay using the user id of
This painting is an
experiment. I frequently browse through ebay
painting auctions to learn about different artists,
styles of painting, look for sleepers and bargains,
etc., and one of the things that I am forced to wade
through are the thousands of paintings from China
and other places. I typically just blow by them but
became curious and spent a couple of hours going
through a fraction of the 3,000 paintings on the
ebay site of one of the companies that sell Chinese
art. These paintings start at $9.99, so I thought
I'd satisfy my curiosity and buy one and see if a)
these are a scam and b) if there are any good
paintings to be had for little money. I finally
settled on this artist out of the many that the
company was selling. Though you can not see it in
this painting the artist does a very nice job of
painting hands. What you can see is that he also
does a nice job with torsos and often, but not
always, with faces. I really liked the play of light
and shadow in this one, and also the colors. Oh
yeah, and the naked chick.
This artist is named Zhangbo and the web site says that he is a 1996 graduate of the Art Department of the Academy of Art and Design of Tsinghua University in Beijing. I checked and this school really exists and has an extensive web site to boot. The ebay site says that Zhangbo is contracted to the company and is a professional artist with 15 years of experience. I have not received this painting yet, but I hope it will be worth the $9.99 I paid for it and the $20 shipping. The site swears that this is a hand painted oil painting signed by the artist, and I hope to be pleasantly surprised, but expect to get what I paid for. I'll add an update when I receive the painting. Oh, by the way, this seller has perfect feedback and several hundred completed auctions. Wish me luck!
UPDATE: Above are the images of the painting
pictured on the ebay auction site on the left and
the painting I received on the right. The colors in
the painting I received are closer to the ebay image
than I captured with my camera. I may try to get
another image to show this. The first thing I noted
when the painting arrived was that it was not on a
stretcher, but rolled up in a triangular box. Upon
opening it, it became obvious that this was a new
painting, the smell of oil paint was overpowering
and it had obviously not cured. Next I noticed that
the painting was not on canvas but what appeared to
be burlap. There was a layer of some type of clear
plastic over the painting to keep the rolled
painting from sticking to the burlap. At first
glance it appeared to be very similar to the
original, but I decided to have it stretched before
making a close examination (Hobby Lobby did a fair
job for $32 including tax). After it was stretched,
I took a photo so that I could compare it in detail
to the original.
There are some marked differences between the original and the copy that I received. Most notable is the fact that there is considerably less detail in the copy. This is most noticeable in the flowers, shadows, and eyes. The woman's features are different, possibly more Caucasian in the copy, and there is a muscular vertical line down the copy's stomach and a more pronounced crease at the pelvis. There are other small differences. Because the painting was not cured there were numerous small pieces of debris embedded in the painting, most of which I have been able to remove. A few are too deeply embedded, and I fear that I will remove paint if I try to remove them. I am going to try again when the painting has cured more. All in all, I think this painting is striking and worth what I paid for it, though I am not sure that it suits my tastes, yet. I'll start looking for a thrift shop frame, since this is on a standard sized stretcher, and hope to put less than $75 total into this painting. I am struggling with the fact that this is a very large painting compared to what I normally buy. I tend to like smaller paintings and I am not sure if I am going to like this painting in the long run, but am going to give it a chance. I wish it was about half the size that it is or less.
I contacted the seller to express my concerns that their description of this item did not include the fact that it was not on a stretcher and that it would be copy. I also expressed concern about whether or not it was copied by the original artist. I received a very contrite reply apologizing for the omissions, assuring me that the copy was created by the original artist and that they would not omit this information in future item descriptions. I am monitoring their auctions to see if they comply. This seller has a wide range of offerings from landscapes, ethnic scenes, and both tasteful and somewhat raunchy nudes. Most of the paintings seem to be large. Perhaps it is easier to copy these large paintings? If you are looking for sofa art or inexpensive large original art this may not be a bad option.
Here is a nice mystery. I
like the muted colors and quaintness of the scene. I
was not sure where the scene in this painting was
located, I guessed India or Southeast Asia. I was
contacted by the owner of another painting by this
artist and he sent me an image that seems to be of
an Indian market scene, so I guess I'll go with
India on this one. The other painting was not dated,
or rather it appears that the date was partly
trimmed off, but the signature was much more clear
than the signature on my painting which is obscured
by the darkness of the surrounding watercolors. I
think I can make out enough of the date to guess
that it was painted in the 1940s. This artist is not
mentioned in any art reference book that I have
searched. I suspect that this is artist was a
talented amateur who possibly lived in India in the
1940s and 1950s. Any information on this artist very
Apin was born in 1923 in Padang Panjang, West
Sumatra. He was a painter in oils and watercolors
who received a formal Dutch education, including art
training, during the colonial period. He also
studied art at the Kunstnijverhied in Amsterdam, the
Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts in Paris,
and at the Deutsche Akademie der Kuenste in Berlin.
Apin was a prominent artist in Indonesia and was
co-founder of the Gelanggang Seniman Muda (Arena of
Independent Artists) movement in 1946 in Jakarta. He
was a member of the Bandung School. Apin traveled to
Europe from 1951-1959 and visited many museums and
galleries. This is an early work by Apin, probably
from the 1940s. His later work was very contemporary
and tended to be composed of mixed medias.
Apin died in 1994.
Mula Ben-Haim was born in
1916 in Lida, Poland. Ben-Haim studied at the School
of Fine Arts in Vilna, Lithuania. He was a key
member of an underground group that helped displaced
Jews escape to British mandated Palestine. He
immigrated to Palestine in 1947 and attended the
Avni Institute in Tel Aviv where he studied with
Mokady and Janco. His studies in Paris included
Byzantine mosaics with Gino Severini. I originally
bought this painting as part of an effort on my part
to gain an appreciation for more contemporary art as
I had been focusing on 19th century British art.
Now, it is one of my very favorites. More and more,
I find myself pausing in front of this painting.
A debut exhibition of his work was given at The Explorer Art Gallery in New York City in 1961. A booklet containing examples of his work, and introductory essays by Alfred Werner and Marcel Ianco was published for this event:
He was the Cultural Attache at the Israeli embassy in Moscow from 1962-65. Ben-Haim was a member and head of the Israeli Artist's Association from 1966-1968. Ben-Haim won a prize at the Tel Aviv Museum in 1968. He was married to the famous Yiddish poet Rivkah Basman. Ben-Haim died in 1993. A retrospective of his work was given by his wife at the Leyvik House in Tel Aviv in June of 2006. Mr. Ben-Haim is not listed in any of the major art reference books in my library but is starting to appear in some of the on line resources like ArtNet and ArtPrice. Well known Israeli art critic David Giladi wrote a 147 page book cataloging Mr. Ben-Haim's art and life in 1997. I was able to obtain a copy of this exceedingly rare book through inter-library loan.
They are much more detailed than my camera was able to capture. For instance, the straps on the pack of the figure in the bottom painting are clearly visible going over his shoulders. The first image is of the Itsukushima Shrine at Miyajima. These are very nice. Here is a good site to find out more about Japanese watercolors and woodblock prints.
Nimi was another pre-WWII Japanese artist and he
is as mysterious as Mr. Matsu. I actually found
this one in a little antique mall about 6 or 8
blocks from my house for $10. The label and
mounting tape are from an art shop that has
probably not existed for 50 or 60 years. Note
that the name and address of the art store are
different on the label that was on the back of
the painting and on the tape that was used to
mount the painting to the mat. Springfield is
about 60 miles from the town where I live. I
suspect that this painting has an interesting
history. It appears to have been matted at least
twice, and perhaps three times judging by the
mat burns. The frame may be original as it is
bamboo and very old, though still sound. I
matted it to show the history of the painting,
though I guess someone in the future may decide
to hide it. Either way it is nice painting. Not
bad for ten bucks.
This painting seems dark. I
am not sure if it is toned, or if the artist
intended it to be dark. I have seen a couple of
other works by this artist and several others by
Matsu and Nimi, as well.
H. Kato signature