*7 September 1929 in Yaizu, Japan
Shoichi Hasegawa was born in 1929 in Yaizu, Shizuoka Prefecture, not far from Mount Fuji. After his training to become a radio operator for the Japanese Postal Service, he had plenty of time to develop his drawing talent during the office hours around Yaizu’s main post office. After World War II, he began a 6-year apprenticeship with local artist Yoshinari Koga, who introduced him to the realistic art of portraiture and landscape. He then moved on to Tokyo, where he studied painting at the Koguga Academy and was particularly influenced by Tasuku Kasukabe, a renowned watercolorist. Hasegawa’s development, both on the technical and conceptual level, was also greatly influenced by his acquaintance with the renowned Japanese painter Kawaguchi Kigau, who had participated in research on the Cubists and Surrealists in Paris during the 1920s.
In 1961 Hasegawa moved to Paris with his wife Toshi, together with whom he met all those who were involved in modern art in Tokyo. He began working at the Hayter studio, which at the time was considered the cradle of printmaking in France, to learn the technique of etching which was hardly ever used in Japan. His work was soon included in group exhibitions, including the Salon des Jeunes Peintres, the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, the International Biennale of Engraving in Ljubljana and in Cracow. Since 1957 he has had over sixty solo exhibitions of his works.
Besides oil painting, Hasegawa’s oeuvre mainly comprises watercolours and colour etchings, in which delicately nuanced areas of colour are combined with a fine lineament that often only hints at representationalism. The colourfulness often creates an indefinite floating spatiality. His Japanese influence can be seen in the extremely delicate restraint in the pictorial design, whereby the inclusion of empty space is of particular importance. Since 1975 he has lived in Vétheuil, in Val-d’Oise, France, where Claude Monet owned a house.