Umehara Ryuzaburo (梅原龍三郎)

Ryuzaburo UMEHARA (梅原 龍三郎: March 9, 1888 - January 16, 1986) is an oil painter who was active from the Taisho Period to Showa Period. He was born in Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. He was a left-handed painter.

Until 1914, he gave himself the first name of Ryozaburo (良三郎), and there a theory that this is his real name, while another says that he changed his name to Ryozaburo at some stage although he was named Ryuzaburo when he was born. His pictures were characterized with cheerful colors and a strong touch, and described as free and uninhibited. Before World War II to the end of the Showa Period, he dominated the Japanese western-style painting society as a leading figure.

His atelier (studio) at Ichigaya, Tokyo prefecture, designed by Isoya YOSHIDA, which he used in his later years, was moved to Kiyoharu art colony in Hokuto City, Yamanashi Prefecture and is now open to the public.


He was born in Shimogyo-ku Word, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. His family ran a dye wholesale business.

He quit the Kyoto Prefectural Daini High School (present Toba Senior High School, Kyoto Prefectural) and after learning painting under Yoshihiko ITO, he entered Shogoin Institute of Western Art (present Kansai Bijutsuin (Fine Arts Academy of Western Japan))presided by Tadashi ASAI. At the same period, Sotaro YASUI also learned there.

In 1908, he went to France to learn about paintings with Kisaku TANAKA (later he became an art historian). While he stayed in Paris, he went to Academie Julian.

1909, he acquired the opportunity to receive guidance from Pierre-Auguste RENOIR. In 1910, he contributed articles on RENOIR and the art in Paris to a journal "Shirakaba," through his acquaintance, Ikuma ARISHIMA.

In 1913, he returned to Japan, and held an exhibition of his own works 'The Exhibition of Oil Paintings of Ryozaburo UMEHARA' sponsored by a publishing firm Shirakaba-sha at Kanda, Tokyo
At that time he came to know Saneatsu MUSHANOKOJI, Naoya SHIGA, and Soetsu YANAGI, who were associates of Shirakaba-sha
After that, in 1914, he became involved in the establishment of the Nika Association. In the same year, he was married, and his first daughter and son were born.

In 1920, he again went to France, and it is said that this visit was to make a condolatory call to RENOIR who died the previous year.

In 1922, he participated to establish the Shunyo-kai Art Society. After that, he left the Shunyo-kai and joined Kokuga Sosaku Kyokai (National Creative Painting Association) with the invitation of Bakusen TSUCHIDA and set up the department of western-style painting (called The 2nd Department) within the Kokuga Sosaku Kyokai. In 1928, when Kokuga Sosaku Kyokai was dissolved, the department of western-style painting became independent and formed 'Kokugakai' (Society for National Painting).

In 1935, he became a member of the Imperial Art Academy (present Japan Art Academy)
In 1944, he became a Teishitsu Gigeiin (Imperial art expert), as well as, a professor at the Tokyo Fine Art School(present Tokyo University of Art).

In 1952, he resigned his position as a professor at the Tokyo University of Art, and went to Europe to act as an international judge in Venezia-Biennale. In the same year, he was awarded an Order of Cultural Merit. In 1953, he set up his atelier (studio) at Karuizawa. In 1957, he resigned his position as a member of the Japan Art Academy.

Representative works

Reclining Nude' (1908, owned by Aichi Prefectural Museum)

Standing Nude ' (1915, owned by Sakura City Museum of Art)

Tiantan in the Clouds' (1939, owned by the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto)

Tsu-Chin-Cheng-Peking' (1940, owned by Ohara Museum of Art)

Autumn in Beijing' (1942, owned by The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo)

Kirishima (Enoo)' (1938, owned by Otani Memorial Art Museum, Nishinomiya City)

[Original Japanese]