In this exhibition, the National Museum of Art, Osaka presents a retrospective of posters by Hayakawa Yoshio (1917-2009), an Osaka-born artist who was one of the most significant figures in postwar Japanese graphic design.
We begin by tracing Hayakawa’s career as a designer back to his prewar work for Mitsukoshi Department Store. Then in 1948, after returning from a five-year period of military service on the Chinese mainland during the war, Hayakawa began working in the advertising department at Kintetsu Department Store. In 1951, he formed the Japan Advertising Artists Club with Kamekura Yusaku and others, and in 1955, became the first Japanese member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale.
After opening his own firm, the Hayakawa Yoshio Design Office, in 1954, he pursued a wide range of creative activities, including not only posters, but book designs, public art, and noteworthy series of paintings such as “The Face” and “The Form,” while based both in Tokyo and Osaka. His innovative designs, which incorporate a sense of traditional Japanese beauty, also came to be highly acclaimed internationally.
The majority of works in this exhibition were donated to the museum by Hayakawa himself in 1999. His association with the museum began with a commission to create to produce a poster and logotype for the facility when it originally opened in Expo ’70 Commemorative Park in 1977, and extended to his creation of a new symbol for the museum when it relocated to Nakanoshima in 2004.
By surveying Hayakawa’s posters beginning with his earliest efforts, we hope that this exhibition will provide the viewer with an appreciation of the changes that occurred in each period of the artist’s career; the charm of his illustrations, which are distinguished by a unique sense of color; and the compositional beauty of his bold designs.