A cat looks back over its shoulder beside a chrysanthemum plant, whose stems strain upwards. With a dramatic twist of the neck and tension in its legs and back, the cat is arrested in mid-movement with a questioning expression. The perfectly rounded chrysanthemum blossoms are of a dazzling, deep-red color. Since the age of fourteen when he decided to become an artist, Gyoshu deepened his artistic skills by consistently cultivating the practice of drawing from life. Each of the motifs in this work are delicately rendered with expert brushstrokes, from the lie of the cat’s fur to the chrysanthemum petals and the thickness of the leaves. This technique brings forth their “forms,” transcending the real world. From 1921 until the following year Gyoshu concentrated his efforts on producing paintings that combined a cat with a plant. The chrysanthemum and the cat in this work, and their exquisite placement within the ground that contains no other elements, creates a sense of tension that enthralls the viewer. This work expresses the harmonious world that Gyoshu aspired towards.
Three red apples are arranged on top of a red cloth. Though the glossy skin of the apple and the complex folds of fabric are of the same color, Gyoshu has carefully differentiated their different textures and subtle variations. We also notice the charming pattern of the cloth. While under the influence of Western painting, which was developing from Cézanne’s style in the direction of Cubism, Gyoshu was seeking a method by which he could depict the true nature of reality through the use of nihonga techniques. He incorporated Western techniques of three-dimensional expression through the layered application of color in his distinctive delicate drawing style. He was creating a unique painting space by making full use of both Eastern and Western methods. The golden color in the four corners of the painting is also effective. During his short life, Gyoshu aimed for the pinnacle of modern Japanese painting, and we can see that through his artistic studies he pursued its potential more than any other artist.