Japanese Woman Planting Rice, 1920
Oil on canvas
Collection of Maya and Anatoly Bekkerman, New York
After Bashkiria David Burliuk went to the East of Russia. In the summer 1920 he moved to Vladivostok, but on October 1 he found himself in Japan. In the land of the rising sun, he was greeted as a "famous painter." And ten days after his arrival, Burliuk opens “the First exhibition of Russian Artists” in Tokyo.
The exhibition was a success and went on a tour of the country. By 1920, the public in Japan was already familiar with modern French painting. Here they knew about the work of Van Gogh, many young masters heard about cubism and futurism. The soil was prepared. Burliuk was in the center of artistic life. Japanese avant-gardists welcomed the "father of Russian futurism" with enthusiasm. The memory of Japanese artist, Tai Kambara, preserved on how he was impressed by Burliuk’s oeuvre: "It was amazing, a real miracle for all the Japanese. Pictures of those styles that today we call fantastic, narrative, realistic, Dadaistic, futuristic, cubistic, were exhibited without any order. I visited the exhibition almost every day."
The success of the exhibitions and the attention of the press contributed to the incredible creative rise of Burliuk. In the Japanese period, the artist created about three hundred landscapes, and almost half of all works remained in the Japanese museums and private collections.
In Japan, Burliuk worked in different styles, but first of all he wanted to explain to the Japanese the principles of futurism. The most typical futuristic artwork of that time was “Japanese Woman Planting Rice”. Futurist artists sought to convey a sense of dynamics through pictorial means. To do this, they repeatedly depicted the same object and shifted its contours, visualizing the phases of movement in time. But unlike other artists of Russian futurism, who preferred to depict the city with its noise and bustle on the streets, Burliuk showed a resident of a Japanese village, and her actions were perceived as a religious rite.
This picture Burliuk presented to his close friend Vladimir Mayakovsky during the poet's visit to America. After his death, Burliuk returned it to himself with the help of Lily Brick, Mayakovsky’s mistress, and in the 1930s again exhibited in America.