Harue Koga

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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.

Main works

Between 1926 and 1929 and painted a series of magical childlike works.

Harue Koga: Fireworks 1927

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.

Harue Koga Sea 1929

See: http://www.bigakukai.jp/aesthetics_online/aesthetics_13/text/text13_nagata.pdf

Harue Koga: Innocent Moonlit Night 1929

Other notable Koga photomontage-style works are:

  •  Makeup Out-of-Doors
  • Intellectual Expression Traversing a Real Line

De Chirico

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.

His work has influenced my work particularly:

Project 1.4 Visual Depth 

and some of my town images in Aldeburgh in

Assignment 4 Town and Marsh


Holzhey, M. Georgio De Chirico: The Modern Myth, Koln, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Paris, Tokyo, Taschen.



M C Escher


Official website: http://www.mcescher.com

Piller, M., Elliott, P. & Peterse, F. 2015. The Amazing World of M.C.Escher, Edinburgh, UK, National Galleries of Scotland.


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.


Hand with Reflecting Sphere
Tower of Babel

Impossible constructions


Convex and Concave
Still Life and Street

Transformation Prints

Day and Night


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.