Seiho Takeuchi was trained in traditional Japanese Shijo painting. Soon he developed his own style. And after he had been in Europe for two years, his style had become even more messy seen from the eyes of a strict Shijo painter. Takeuchi became famous as a distinctively Western style painter.
Seiho was born in the old imperial town of Kyoto as Takeuchi Tsunekichi, the eldest son of a restaurant owner. At the age of fourteen he became a student of Eirin Tsuchida and later of the Shijo School painter Kono Bairei.
In 1888 still a young artist of 24 years, he established the Kyoto Young Artists' Institute. In 1900 and 1901 he traveled in Europe to study Western painting.
When Takeuchi came back from Europe, his painting style took a strange twist - a mixture of traditional Japanese Shijo painting and Western style - more Western than Shijo.
Seiho's old teacher Bairei Kono was dead by that time. If he tossed himself around in his grave and started grumbling or whether he watched the activites of his student with a benign smile from his heavenly cloud? We do not know. But we know that his student became very famous and a teacher at Kyoto City School of Fine Arts and Crafts.
The favorite subjects of Takeuchi were animals - often in funny poses like a monkey riding on a horse. But he made also landscapes. His style is rather sketchy.
Seiho Takeuchi had established his own private school. He became the teacher of many students who should become famous like Tokuoka Shinsen and Uemura Shoen.
In 1919 the artist was appointed a member of the Imperial Art Academy and in 1937 they hung a string with a piece of metal around his neck - the Order for Cultural Merits.
Not far away from the Daikakuji Temple, is the Kachuan Seiho Museum. It once was the private countryside retreat of Takeuchi Seiho and was nicknamed Kachuan. Today it hosts a small museum with a nice garden in honor of Takeuchi Seiho.
Author: Dieter Wanczura