Japan Artist inspired by Alfred Sisley: Tranquility through Japanese eyes and cultural warning

Japan Artist inspired by Alfred Sisley: Tranquility through Japanese eyes and cultural warning


The artist Alfred Sisley painted many adorable landscapes through the medium of impressionism. Yet, to many individuals with limited knowledge of art, his name remains relatively unknown in comparison with other impressionist artists. However, this doesn’t distract from the elegant art he produced throughout his life.

Sawako Utsumi, who hails from modern Japan, respects the intricacies of Sisley who produced many exquisite landscapes. Impressionism also remains powerful in modern Japan. Therefore, Utsumi focuses on tranquility and an almost mythical view of modern France that is blighted by many ills – from high crime to Islamist terrorism that is altering the image of this nation.

Equally important, many famous Japanese artists viewed France with utmost respect after the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Hence, many late nineteenth and early twentieth century artists from Japan resided in Paris – and other parts of France – for various periods of time. In this sense, the power of French culture remains vivid in Japan in the area of art, architecture, fashion, food, and other areas.

Utsumi, interestingly, omits the shadow of the buildings that twinkle in the river by Sisley (original by Alfred Sisley below). Also, fascinatingly, Utsumi pronounces the Christian cross in the art piece that is titled, “Japan Artist and the Radiant Nuance Inspired by Alfred Sisley.”

Equally noticeable, Utsumi’s cloudy sky punctuated by a lovely sky blue is more optimistic and feels warm. The same can be said about the buildings looking modern, progressive, and in tune with hope and continuity. However, Utsumi offsets the river by a storm that may be in the making. Therefore, is the Christian cross a warning that a new darker Sunni Islamist faith seeks to usurp the rich traditions of France?

Overall, a very stunning art piece!

Written by Lee Jay Walker

Please email Sawako Utsumi at sawakoart@gmail.com


Book Review: Sawako Utsumi and her Kindred Spirit

European and Japanese Art: Buddhism, Christianity, Landscapes, Rinpa, Shintoism, Ukiyo-e, and Dutch Masters

http://www.lulu.com/shop/lee-jay-walker/sawako-utsumi-and-her-kindred-spirit/paperback/product-22830732.html – Please click on to order the book.



Japanese Art, Still Life, Pythagoras and Plotinus: Kishida, Koide and Utsumi

Japanese Art, Still Life, Pythagoras and Plotinus: Kishida, Koide and Utsumi


Still life art became a specific specialization within Western art by the final decades of the sixteenth century. Of course, this artistic theme can be traced back to Ancient Graeco-Roman art and within various elements of other cultures. However, this applies to various angles and diversions from what contemporary art deems to be still life. Interestingly, Sawako Utsumi (top art piece), a modern contemporary artist hailing from Sendai, Japan, fuses the ancient Greek world within her simplistic, but philosophical, art piece.

Art itself is based on chaos, culture, creativity, order, religion, philosophy, individualism, time, various art forms, structure, the inner self – and a host of other factors that can’t be constrained indefinitely. Sadly, within culture, art can easily be suppressed by religious dogma and political philosophies that abhor freedom. Indeed, in parts of the modern world various Sunni Takfiri Islamist movements are literally erasing architecture, art and high culture. At the same time, one-party states like modern China often infringe on the freedom of expression, when deemed to be aimed at political dogma.


The three artists in this article apply to two firmly past established artists and one contemporary artist, who is still experimenting and preserving her diversity based on current internal constraints. Koide Narashige (1887-1931) and Kishida Ryusei (1891-1929) belong to the same period of Japanese history. Similarly, both artists died relatively young and one can only imagine how both artists would have evolved. However, despite this reality, Kishida and Koide leave a lasting legacy based on many amazing art pieces that both individuals created.

In the art piece by Utsumi Sawako (Sawako Utsumi), titled “Simplicity of Beauty,” the real meaning is missed because the philosophical dimension doesn’t appear visible when viewed head on. Yet, the spiritual and philosophical dimension of Utsumi comes full circle based on the utter simplicity of the art piece.


Of course, individuals can give any meaning they desire and likewise others can claim that the natural reality is all that matters. Despite this, the significance of three and one within the philosophy of Pythagoras and Plotinus is extremely significant. Indeed, the trinity of Christianity within a Pythagoras worldview, and the one God of Christianity, Judaism and Islam – with Judaism and Islam resembling solely the purity of Plotinus, all gained enormously by the richness of the Greek world at various stages throughout history.

According to Pythagoras the number three is of extreme nobility because it is the only number that is equal to all the numbers that are immediately below it. Similarly, the final sum of three is the only number whose sum with those below equals the product of them and itself.” Therefore, the Christian trinity and its power can be viewed differently in the old world of Pythagoras. Likewise, according to Plotinus – and other Neo-Platonists – the number one is the source of all existence and reality. In other words, the number one equates to the number that resembles God and is the basis for all other numbers.

plotinos-1  pythagoras-1
Utsumi cleverly plays on the rich philosophical history of Pythagoras and Plotinus. Also, the blot near the symbol of Plotinus in her art piece relates to other faiths that don’t follow the same theme. After all, Utsumi hails from a land where Shintoism and Buddhism don’t follow the same logic of either one God – nor acknowledge the power of the trinity. Given this reality, the blot relates to other thought patterns and while appearing to have lesser importance, in reality the value is equally valid. Therefore, while the legacy and fame of Kishida and Koide are powerful within Japanese art, this article is mainly based on the ideas of a modern artist who currently remains in the shadow.

Lee Jay Walker

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sawako-utsumi.html – Sawako Utsumi and where you can buy her art, post cards, bags, and other products. Also, individuals can contact her for individual requests.


http://sawakoart.com Sawako Utsumi website