Untitled 無題

MAEDA Josaku 前田 常作

Maeda won the grand prize at "The 1st International Young Artists Exhibition" in 1957, and went to Paris with the prize money, there he held a one-man show at the Galerie Lambert in 1959. It has now become a famous anecdote that the French critic Jelenski visited the show and said, "Your world is a 'mandala'," to the artist and he later started to incorporate the mandala into his work. However, the fact less widely known is that the American painter Sam Francis also came to the show and offered to buy Maeda's new work. This piece, "Untitled", was produced for Francis, and since Maeda's studio in Paris was small, he chose to make it as a screen, which could be worked upon while being folded. It was originally created as Work No. 34 in the Paysage "humain" series, but its title was changed to Untitled when it was sent to America, in order to make it clear to the American customs that this was an artwork, not a decorative screen. In this painting, human beings reduced into signs, throng to reach for a circle of light. They symbolize the resilience of the people who rise again after the air-raid destruction. Taking this approach further, Maeda later established a style in which he uses the mandala to expresses spirituality beyond its religious connotation.rnrnrn
Collection of
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
Artist Name
MAEDA Josaku
Material / Technique
Gouache on Japanese paper, six-fold screen
Acquisition date
Accession number

Other items of Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (7389)