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On Her Terms: Yoshida Fujio, Self-Determination, and the Status of Women Artists in Modern Japan

with Lillian WIES on October 6, 2022

Face to Face only

Please register from here: https://forms.office.com/r/JkZFJfiufU


Watercolorist Yoshida Fujio (1887-1987) did not choose to become an artist, at least not initially. Born into an artist family and later the wife of male artist Yoshida Hiroshi (1876-1950), Fujio’s occupation was predetermined by her father and husband. Extremely rare for a woman of her time, Fujio was rigorously trained in Western-style painting, traveled extensively across America and Europe, and found repeated success at Japan’s national exhibitions. She was poised to become one of the most celebrated women artists in modern Japan. This research-in-progress talk will provide an introduction to Fujio’s work, exploring how early twentieth-century attitudes towards gender marked her career, artistic choices, and sense of self. In using Fujio’s career as a case study, I will consider the position of women artists within art history and invite a reconsideration of how we define professional success and artistic identity.

Lillian Wies is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her dissertation focuses on the development of the “female artist” as an emerging visual and social type in early twentieth-century Japan, and explores the strategies women artists used to shape their careers and personas while navigating gender-based discrimination. Wies received her B.A. in Art History from Wellesley College and her M.A. in Regional Studies East Asia from Harvard University. She is currently a Japan Foundation Japanese Studies Doctoral Fellow, affiliated with the Institute of Comparative Culture at Sophia University.


Organized by Prof. Noriko Murai (Art History, FLA, Sophia University) for ICC Collaborative Research Unit “Feminism and Female Empowerment in the 21st-Century Academy”.


Image: Yoshida Fujio, Seville, 1906, watercolor on paper, private collection