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San Diego Museum of Art unravels the truth and mystery behind the Japanese kimono
Ranging in date from 1928 through present day, Dyeing Elegance documents the historical developments of how western modernism combines with traditional Japanese philosophies, spirituality, and craft through the volatile changes of the twentieth century.
SAN DIEGO, CA.- The San Diego Museum of Art expands its collection of Asian works of art on view with the addition of a traveling collection of fashionable textiles, Dyeing Elegance: Asian Modernism and the Art of Kūboku and Hisako Takaku. In this collection, open at the Museum on February 18, 2012, 71 obi, kimono, and other textile paintings of father and daughter pair, Kūboku and Hisako Takaku, is on display outside of Japan for the first time.

Artist Kūboku Takaku (1908–1993) perfected the ancient technique of wax resistant dyeing to create textile paintings on obi, kimono, and screens. His works merged Japanese subjects with cubist and modernist styles, and he was the only textile artist who effectively transitioned from the Fine Arts circles of the 1930s through 1960s into the world of high fashion for Tokyo’s elite. His daughter Hisako is now one of the last living artists who preserves the knowledge of this painstaking dyeing technique, and her obi and kimonos continue to be among the most chic and sought-after in Japan.

Ranging in date from 1928 through present day, Dyeing Elegance documents the historical developments of how western modernism combines with traditional Japanese philosophies, spirituality, and craft through the volatile changes of the twentieth century.

Through these beautiful works of wearable and usable art, visitors will learn about one of Japan’s most astonishing textile crafts: the ancient wax resist dyeing technique, called roketsuzome. This unique dyeing method allows for the creation of delicately modulated and calligraphic brushwork that appears spontaneous, each created individually by hand. Furthermore, western audiences will become familiar with the art of elegant kimono dressing with a uniquely Japanese aesthetic adapted to the modern world.

Dyeing Elegance: Asian Modernism and the Art of Kūboku and Hisako Takaku is organized by The San Diego Museum of Art and is curated by Sonya Rhie Quintanilla, Ph.D., the Museum's Curator of Asian Art.





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