Hodaka Yoshida Biography

Hodaka Yoshida




Hodaka Yoshida, painter, printmaker, and teacher, was born in Tokyo, Japan on 3 September 1926, into the noted Yoshida family of artists. Father Hiroshi and mother Fujio were pioneers in embracing Western style in pre-war Japan, building a major collector clientele in America and England in the 1920s and 1930s. Before the Second World War, their children were encouraged to carry on this tradition. Toshi and Hodaka studied oil painting and woodcut at Daichii High School, considered the best in Japan at the time.
Once the war ended, the future of the Yoshida family studio was uncertain, having lost its largest clientele after the Pearl Harbor attack and Japan's collaboration with Axis powers. It was expected that Hodaka, being the second eldest son, would set aside his pursuit of art and find an occupation that would guarantee financial stability. At his father's request, Hodaka began studying biology at age nineteen. 

Defying his parents' wishes, he soon left school to pursue studies in woodblock and painting and participated in his first exhibition in 1948 at the Second Nihon Independent Exhibition. Like his parents before him, Hodaka was influenced by Western art and it was the rising stars of Abstraction and Surrealism that caught his attention. His work was well received and he began exhibiting frequently throughout Japan along with his wife, artist Chizuko Inoue (Yoshida). By the mid 1950s, Hodaka was exhibiting in Mexico and the United States. In 1952, he became a member of the Japanese Print Association, and his teaching career began when he took posts at universities in Hawaii and Oregon in 1957.

Hodaka’s work went through several distinct stylistic periods: Abstraction and Cubism, Buddhist and Primitive Japanese folk art, Pop Art, and Surrealism. He worked in oils, etching, engraving, lithography, serigraphy, and photo-transfer techniques. At each evolution, Yoshida's work was embraced by critics worldwide.

Yoshida exhibited at the print biennales in Tokyo, Krakow, Ibiza, and Ljubljana. In 1981 he organized the major Japanese Print Association exhibition, 25 Years of World Exhibition of Modern Print Art in Tokyo. 
Hodaka Yoshida died in November of 1995 and, later in 1995, he was posthumously awarded Japan's Order of the Rising Sun.

Yoshida's work is held in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Massachusetts; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Portland Art Museum, Oregon; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California; the National Museum of Asian Art, Washington, D.C.; and in Japan in the Hiroshima Contemporary Art Museum; the Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura & Hayama; the Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.