CIHA 2016 in Beijing

34th World Congress of Art History

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TOYA, Tomoko

Session 13 Transmission and Adoption

University of Tokyo


Käthe Kollwitz, a world-famous German modern artist, was introduced in Japan and China around 1930 in the course of the international rise of leftist art movements. In Japan, she was first introduced in 1928 by Koreya Senda who studied drama and became a KPD member in Berlin. Lu Xun, the first to introduce Kollwitz in China, started to collect her works after having read an article written by Isshu Nagata, and published a selection of Kollwitz’s art in 1936.

The aspects and ways Kollwitz was received by Senda und Lu Xun, however, differed greatly. This would suggest that the reception of an artist and their art could differ, depending on the receptors’ characteristics, such as age, experiences, personal values, etc. It would also suggest that the way art or an artist is received at the very beginning could have a great impact on later developments. In later years, the reception of Kollwitz’s art showed further development in China, while her name almost disappeared with the onset of war in Japan.

This paper aims to survey the reception of Kollwitz’s art in Japan and China at its very early stage, focusing on a comparative analysis of the texts written by Senda and Lu Xun.

TOYA, Tomoko

Tomoko Toya is a PhD candidate in the department of area studies, School of Art and Science at the University of Tokyo. Having received her BA in foreign studies at the Sophia University in Tokyo, she studied in Nanjing and completed a one-year program at John’s Hopkins-Nanjing Center. Her MA thesis was about Lu Xun’s collection of German prints, focusing on the works of Käthe Kollwitz and Carl Meffert. She spent one year as an exchange student at the Free University of Berlin.

Her major academic interest is art and society in the 20th century, focusing on Berlin, Tokyo and Shanghai. She tries to pursue how artists and intellectuals struggled for their visions of art, and how they made compromises with the extreme conditions during that time. 

Her published articles are:

1. “Liu Haisu and Ishii Hakutei: ‘New Impression on New Japan’ and ‘Diary in Shanghai’” Asia Yugaku no. 146, Bensei, 2011. (Translated into Chinese and published in 500 Years of Chinese Oil Paintings vol. 2, Hunan Art Publishing Co. 2014)

2. “Tu-Shan-Wan Arthouse: A Cradle of Western Paintings”, Asia Yugaku no. 168, Bensei 2013.

3. “Lu Xun and German Printings---centering around his introduction on Meffert and Kollwitz”, Asia Yugaku no. 168, Bensei 2013.