One of my favorite cliches about art is the one that says great art comes from great suffering, something that is perhaps overlooked by today’s modern art scene with its emphasis on novelty and playfulness.

Suffering clearly played a role in the lives of several of the key Japanese Western-style painters of the early 20th century, including Harue Koga (1895-1933), a restless and ever-changing artist whose work is featured in a small but interesting exhibition at one of Tokyo’s best art museums, the Bridgestone.

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