A Brief Personal Chronology of Moriye Ogihara (Rokuzan)
Ogihara was born the fifth son in a farmer’s family, on December 1st, 1879 in the area currently known as Hotaka, Azumino City in Nagano. After setting his sights upon art, he went to Tokyo in 1899, the U.S. in 1901, and France in 1903.
In Paris, Rodin’s statue “The Thinker” made a deep impact upon him and his focus on art moved from painting to sculpture. He then returned to New York to study more about art while he saved up for art school.
In 1906, he returned to Paris again to seriously study sculpture at the Académie Julian and visited Rodin several times in 1907 to receive his teaching. “The Miner” and “A Woman’s Body” are works from this Paris period. From about this time he began using the name “Rokuzan” as his pseudonym
In December 1907, he left Paris to go back to Japan via the countries of his fascination, Italy, Greece, and Egypt, and arrived in Japan in March 1908. In June of that year, he established a studio in Shinjuku, Tokyo, and began creating works of art. Through his works and writings, he advocated that “True art is the art that represents life”. He completed his representative works “Portrait of Mr. Torakichi Hojo” and “Woman” before his sudden death on April 22, 1910 at age 30.
Thus there were relatively few works produced and currently only 15 pieces are left. “Woman” and “Portrait of Mr. Torakichi Hojo” are listed as Important Cultural Properties by the Japanese Government (among the total of six pieces of modern Japanese sculptures). His works reflect the dynamic movement of western art absorbed from Rodin, as well as the calmness of eastern art. The deep impression of true art brought about by Ogihara has been a significant influence succeeding artists.