Seated Semi-nude by Kimiko Ogiwara
4 min

The Meditating Beauties of Kimiko Ogiwara

4 min

Though very little is known of this independent Japanese artist, her mesmerizing paintings encapsulate the meditative nature of the East yet focus on the human figure, which seems to be a specific feature of the Western worldview.

Kimiko Ogiwara flowers

Fig. 1.

 Kimiko Ogiwara Japanese artist

Fig. 2.

 Seated female by Kimiko Ogiwara

Fig. 3. Seated female (

Kimiko Ogiwara

Fig. 4.

 Seated female Kimiko Ogiwara

Fig. 5. Seated female (

Several Words About the Artist

Kimiko Ogiwara was born in 1947 in Nagano Prefecture. In 1972, she completed her course at the Japanese Painting Department of Aichi Prefectural University of Arts. Her mentor was Tamako Kataoka, an acknowledged nihonga (Eastern style) painter. Only eight years after graduation, Ogiwara exhibited her works at the Central Art Museum in Tokyo and won a Grand Prize at her debut exhibition. At least until 2008, she’s been submitting paintings to group exhibitions in Japan and held many solo shows in different cities. Ogiwara's canvases are sold at auctions and held in private collections. Most paintings uploaded on the web date back to the 1990s.

 Semi-nude by Kimiko Ogiwara

Fig. 6. Semi-nude (

Seated Semi-nude by Kimiko Ogiwara

Fig. 7. Seated female (

Foujita, Nude on a bed

Fig. 8. Foujita, Nude on a bed, 1949 (

 Foujita, Friends

Fig. 8a. Foujita, Friends (

 reclining nude by Kimiko Ogiwara

Fig. 9.  Reclining nude (

 reclining nude by Kimiko Ogiwara detail

Fig. 9a.

 reclining nude by Kimiko Ogiwara (detail)

Fig. 9b.

 Nude covering her body with a kimono by Kimiko Ogiwara

Fig. 10. Nude covering her body with a kimono (

Developing Another Manner

The eight-year gap was what Ogiwara probably needed to develop her manner. The soft tones and the shiny aura of the skin of her females much resemble the oil works of Japanese genius Tsuguharu Foujita (fig. 8, 8a) and have nothing in common with the bold colors of her teacher Kataoka, whose paintings resemble a vivid applique. The themes of Ogiwara's works are either flowers, which is closer to the nihonga style, or reclining Japanese females. For the latter subject, the artist uses both European and Asian techniques: in some paintings, the body is depicted in oil against the traditional Japanese background of gold leaf.

 Tomoyuki by Kimiko Ogiwara

Fig. 11. Tomoyuki (

Showing the Skin

Looking at these paintings, one may recall the saying of Foujita that he desperately tried to depict "the most beautiful of materials: human skin." Portraying her beauties, Ogiwara masterfully blends the pearl shine with pink areas to create an impression of the living body that is, according to Foujita, under-represented in Japanese art. Yet the same shine on her paintings comes from the silk kimono with traditional patterns. The combination of different tones allows us to touch the untouchable subjects by only looking at them.

reclining nude Japanese art

Fig. 12. Reclining nude (

kimiko ogiwara reclining nude

Fig.13. Reclining nude (

In the extended Premium version of the article more on Ogiwara's distinctive portrayal of faces, the strong influence of the Japanese landscape on her work and more pics of her mesmerizing nudes.

Click HERE for the felines and females in the paintings of Tsuguharu Foujita


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