Harue Koga (1895 -1933) was a Japanese surrealist/avant-garde painter. His birth name was Yoshio Koga (古賀 亀雄?). His father was the head priest of the Buddhist Zenpuku Temple. He enjoyed painting when he was he child and in 1912 he dropped out of school and moved to Tokyo to study art. He studied at the Pacific Ocean Art Institute and the Japanese Watercolor Painting Institute. He returned to his hometown after the suicide of his housemate in 1915. The following year he entered the Buddhist priesthood and returned to Tokyo. In order to follow in his father’s footstep, he entered university to study theology in 1916. He dropped out in 1918 though, and from this point on would concentrate on painting.
After a slump lasting several years, he won Nika Prize for Burial (also known as Entombment) and From the Upstairs Window in 1922. He became one of the 13 founder members of an avant-garde art group “Action” in the same year. His style changed rapidly, with diverse influences like Paul Klee, Yasunari Kawabata, cubism (Fernand Léger), surrealism, de Chirico.
Between 1926 and 1929 and painted a series of magical childlike works.
Sea, Koga’s most famous work first appeared at the 16th Nika Exhibition in 1929. It contains various motifs which Koga had copied from magazines and post cards.
Giorgio de Chirico (1888 – 1978) was an Italian artist and writer most famous for the eerie mood and strange artificiality of the cityscapes he painted in the 1910s. His style is characterised by haunting empty streets with multiple vanishing points, shadows and size contrasts that do not make sense. These contradictions become dreamlike/nightmarish because they conflict with the otherwise classical style – things look ‘normal’ but aren’t.
Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972) played with architecture, perspective and impossible spaces. He aimed to show reality is wondrous, comprehensible and fascinating. During his lifetime, made 448 lithographs, woodcuts and wood engravings and over 2000 drawings and sketches. Apart from being a graphic artist, M.C. Escher illustrated books, designed tapestries, postage stamps and murals.
He also made more realistic work during the time he lived and traveled in Italy. Castrovalva for example, shows Escher’s fascination for high and low, close by and far away. The lithograph Atrani, a small town on the Amalfi Coast was made in 1931, but comes back for example, in his masterpiece Metamorphosis I and II.