Taro Okamoto, a leading Japanese artist known for "Tower of the Sun" and "Myth of Tomorrow," left behind three paintings that seemed to have been painted in Paris at a young age. I found out by the investigation of the foundation etc. to carry out.

All of them are works whose existence was unknown, and experts say that they are extremely valuable discoveries that show the origin of Taro.

Taro, who spent 18 to 29 years in Paris, said that after returning to Japan after being invaded by Germany, his home in Tokyo was air-raided while he was on the road to China, and all the works he had kept were lost. It was being considered.

However, a French man living in Paris contacted me that one of the three abstract paintings depicting something that flutters or looks like smoke has the signature of the Chinese character "Taro Okamoto". In February of this year, the "Taro Okamoto Memorial Foundation for the Promotion of Contemporary Art", which collects and researches materials on Taro, ordered works and decided to proceed with a detailed investigation.

In the survey, "signature handwriting examination" and "component analysis of paints" were carried out, and based on these, five experts familiar with Taro examined similarities and techniques with other works, and as a result, Taro himself I conclude that it is very likely that he drew it.

The three paintings are similar to the early works published in Taro's first art book "OKAMOTO", but the way of drawing lines is not good, so the Foundation said in the study drawn in the early twenties. I'm wondering if there is one.

Of the five experts, Akiomi Hirano, director of the Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum, said, "This work is the starting point and source of Taro. In that sense, it is very important and a great discovery that will rewrite the history of Taro. Will be. "

The work found this time will be open to the public at the exhibition "Taro Okamoto" to be held from the 23rd of this month.

"Is it really drawn by" Taro Okamoto "?"

Is this work really drawn by Taro Okamoto?

First, a scientific analysis was performed on the three works.

Assistant Professor Yoshiya Abe of Tokyo Denki University analyzed the components of the paint used in his work using a technique called fluorescent X-ray analysis.

As a result, it was found that the components of "blue", "black" and "cream" used in the three works are almost the same, and it is possible that the same author painted with similar paints. I did.

However, it was not possible to make a direct comparison because other works from the Paris era were burned down.

In addition, the handwriting examination of the signature of the Chinese character "Taro Okamoto", which was left in one of the three points, was carried out.

Many of Taro's characters when he was young are not left, but as a result of comparison with those when he was a teenager or 60's by a private inspection company, it was written by the same author, that is, Taro. The result is that it can be estimated that the possibility is high.

Based on these survey results, an expert familiar with Taro finally made a study.

On June 4, the Taro Okamoto Memorial Hall was attended by Noi Sawaragi, the director of the memorial hall, Emile Yoshimura, a painting restorer who was also in charge of the restoration of "Myth of Tomorrow," and Koichi Watari, CEO of the Watarium Art Museum. , Professor Noi Sawaragi of Tama Art University, and Professor Yuji Yamashita of Meiji Gakuin University.

The following opinions were given by the five people during the examination.

▽ The composition and atmosphere of the three works and the work "Space", which Taro drew in Paris around 1934 and is included in Taro's art book, are very similar.

▽ The curved lines and the undulating expression method can be seen in Taro's other works.

On top of that, Mr. Yoshimura said, "If you magnify with a digital microscope, you can see that the three points are drawn using similar canvases. Furthermore, the paints of the three works have something in common, and they were drawn by the same author. It's highly possible. One of them has the signature of "Taro Okamoto". "

Professor Sasaki said, "The works I found have a feeling of lack of self-confidence, and although the quality is inferior to Taro's other works, it was an extremely important process that continued to works such as" Space. " I can say that it is possible. I think that Taro had a strong pressure and worries that he had to create an original work among the painters competing for his skills in Paris, so that may be reflected in the work. I don't know. "

CEO Watari said, "When I saw the three works, I intuitively thought that the way they interacted with the works belonged to Mr. Taro. Is the theme and method that is drawn. I felt that it was Taro Okamoto's work because I was drawing something fluttering and the space was divided into two. "

Professor Yamashita said, "I can see the troubled young Taro Okamoto. I think this is an important discovery in that sense. Taro's paintings have a unique curve that makes you see the" gesture "when you are drawing. Yes, I think it's 100% already. "

Then, as a result of comprehensive examination, the five people came to the conclusion that "it is extremely likely that it is the work of Taro Okamoto."

On top of that, there is some doubt about the brush strokes, and the degree of perfection is low, so it is considered to be a study drawn before the "space" was completed.

Paris era “Impact on Picasso”

Taro Okamoto traveled to France with his parents at the age of 18 in 1929, and remained in Paris to study painting even after the two returned home.

At that time, I came across an abstract painting by Pablo Picasso, a painter who represents the 20th century.

Taro responded to an interview with NHK about the situation at that time, saying, "I'm excited, I'm tearing. As long as I'm impressed, I'll do a job to overcome that, completely different from that, and overcome it." That's why I got into abstraction more and more. "

Akiomi Hirano, director of the Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum, believes that the three newly confirmed works are early works drawn by Taro.

Mr. Hirano said about the three points this time, "The degree of perfection is a little low, and to be clear, it is a little childish. increase.

After that, Taro worked on abstract painting one after another, but the challenge continues.

Taro wrote about his time in Paris in his book "Have Poison in Me", "I was at a loss. What exactly am I, what does it mean to live?" increase.

On top of that, he shows his determination to create his new work, saying, "I swore to myself with the feeling of throwing out life" and "exploding my destiny."

Under these circumstances, Taro created a work called "Wounded Arm" at the age of 25.

It is a unique work that can be said to incorporate both abstraction and concreteness by combining the expression of a large floating red ribbon with the expression of a tightly clenched and injured arm, and received high praise at the Parisian painter's stage. ..

Akiomi Hirano, director of the Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum, said, "Although abstract paintings do not originally draw concrete things, the" damaged arm "has a clear arm and a fresh wound. It clearly deviates from the abstract expression. When trying to express something like the dynamic feeling of life, I think that the abstract element alone is not enough. How can Taro do his own thing? I struggled to get the expression, and overcame it to get my own expression. "

After that, Taro created works that combined abstraction and concreteness one after another, and such attempts led to masterpieces such as "Tower of the Sun" and "Myth of Tomorrow" that surprised many people with overwhelming power. did.

Masterpiece with Taro Okamoto

Taro Okamoto was born in 1911 in what is now Kawasaki City.

His father is Ippei Okamoto, a manga artist, and his mother is Kanoko Okamoto, a singer and novelist.

At the age of 18, Taro went to France with his parents, and after that, he stayed alone in Paris to pursue his own artistic expression, and through trial and error, he had a unique "damaged arm". You will be able to create works.

In 1940, he returned to Japan following the German invasion of France, but all the Parisian works he brought back at that time were destroyed by air raids.

After the end of the war, Taro returned from China, where he was sent to, and resumed his creative activities. He expanded his scope to various fields such as sculpture and furniture, as well as painting, and expressed his own unique expression.

His masterpieces are

▽ "Tower of the Sun" produced as a symbol of the Expo held in Osaka in 1970, and

▽ "Myth of Tomorrow" produced in Mexico and drawn in the image of the moment when the atomic bomb exploded. "is.

The Tower of the Sun, which still stands at the Expo '70 Commemorative Park in Suita City, Osaka, is about 70 meters high and features three "faces" on the center, top, and back of the tower.

Also, inside the tower, there is a "Tree of Life" that expresses the evolution of living things.

"Myth of Tomorrow," which was produced at about the same time, is a huge mural painting 5.5 meters high and 30 meters wide.

By drawing a burning skeleton and the Daigo Fukuryu Maru, it expresses the fear and misery of nuclear weapons and also makes you feel a mysterious vitality.

After the production, the whereabouts were unknown, but it was found in a warehouse in Mexico City and repaired, and it is now permanently exhibited in the connecting passage of Shibuya Station in Tokyo.

Even after producing these works, Taro continues to convey the wonderfulness of living through his writings and TV appearances, and the overwhelming energy represented by the words "Art is an explosion!" Is still abundant. It affects people.