TSUTAYA KIICHI
 NURIE by Kiichi 

2009/3/30 - 4/18




Package Design 1950's




Delicate lines and pronounced composition display an exhibition of boys and girls, clad in nostalgic fashion and lifestyle. Their faces and posture convey timeless beauty- Tsutaya Kiichi’s work, most notably his nurie=coloring pictures, are genuine works of art in its own right. Starting in the 1940's, Kiichi soon developed a compelling oeuvre of works, most of which were coloring pictures executed on rough paper, through a lithographic process for mass production. Packaged and distributed by the millions, Kiichi was one of the first to provide young girls with the sensation of KAWAII -a distinct notion of charm and cuteness, eventually finding itself a firm position in modern Japanese culture. It is not to anyone’s surprise that artist Murakami Takashi, known for his ‘Superflat’ movement, has already taken interest in Kiichi’s works, recently organizing an exhibition at the Cartier Foundation in Paris titled NURIE.

Gallery Naruyama is honored to present NURIE by Kiichi, a collection of original artworks from the 1940's and 50's. 20 plus works, originally designed for the package, will be on display. Brimming with vivid colors, Kiichi’s idiosyncratic color scheme and palette fuses the now retro and surprisingly pop; his expanses of bold colors on specific cultural references、‘idealized’ physique with pink cheeks and dreamy eyes, retrospect not only an era of the past but of our own youth, and the wonders our minds were once capable of.




Doll 1950's




Tsutaya Kiichi was born in the Kyobashi Ward, Japan in 1914. Starting in his twenties, Kiichi went on to create one of the most popular coloring pictures in Japan of the 1940s and 50s. However, with the commencement of color broadcasting by NHK in 1960, followed by the first televised animation series “Astro Boy” in 1962, the popularity of coloring pictures declined, and by 1965 Kiichi stopped producing coloring pictures. Kiichi’s legacy still remained, with a solo exhibition at the Shiseido Gallery in Ginza in 1978 and participation in the “Nurie” exhibition at the Cartier Foundation in Paris, France in 2002. Kiichi passed away in 2005, at the age of 91.



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