Presentation of the work
General presentation
“Kyoto portraits 100“ is a collection of paintings made by Yann Le Gal in 2013 and 2014. These portraits are of Kyoto prefecture residents who agreed to participate in this project, all of whom he met with his spouse and collaborator, Mayphy Miho Higashi.

The work is a collection of one hundred portraits painted in acrylic on plywood panels (180 x 90 centimetres,thickness 1,5 centimetres).
Introduction to the theme and specifications of the portraits
The project "Kyoto portraits 100", developed by Yann Le Gal and Mayphy Miho Higashi was born from their common desire to create a generous, ambitious and major work. The execution of this project allowed them to meet and involve one hundred people who agreed to sit for the portraits. People of all ages, of different social status, and differing backgrounds were approached for their participation in the project. These are the people of Kyoto, the men, the women and the children of our time, at work, pursuing their occupations, and taking their leisure.

List of models classified by activities
(The numbering refers to the order in which they have been painted, also as they appear in the catalogue "KYOTO PORTRAITS 100 by Yann Le Gal")
1. employee51. president of the Kyoto international community centre
2. digeridoo player52. traditional armour manufacturer
3. retiree53. guitarist
4. nurse54. bass player
5. shakuhachi player55. kimono tailor
6. pianist56. sake manufacturer and merchant
7. mikoshi carrier for Gion matsuri57. sake merchant
8. schoolgirl58. fisherman
9. violinist59. potter
10. tea ceremony practitioner60. Shinto priest
11. tea ceremony practitioner61. painter
12. manager (?)62. carpenter
13. calligrapher63. shamisen player
14. baker64. tofu manufacturer, seller and restorer
15. bakerʼs wife65. yuzen painter
16. traditional storyteller from Niger66. Shinto priest
17. carpenter67. dyer
18. waitress68. soba restaurant chef and owner
19. club manager69. Head of Kyoto International School
20. engineer70. traditional dancer nihonbuyo
21. bookseller71. jazz singer
22. beautician72. potter
23. beautician73. farmer
24. traditional storyteller74. farmerʼs wife
25. okonomiyaki restaurant chef and owner75. flautist
26. mandolin player76. tatami maker and musician
27. sake merchant77. yuzen painter
28. supplier of bakery products78. obi weaver
29. shopping girl79. puppeteer
30. employee80. shuttle maker
31. yoga apprentice81. weaver
32. weaver82. kyokano shibori craftswoman
33. hostess83. gold leaf maker
34. classical dancer84. restaurant chef and owner
35. student, matsuri dancer85. wagashi creator
36. kimono merchant86. traditional embroiderer (shishu)
37. kimono merchantʼs spouse87. koto player
38. in mourning88. traditional doll craftsman
39. apprentice baker89. harpist
40. retiree90. sandal craftsman
41. retired centenarian91. Abbot of Okazaki Betsuin Temple
42. schoolchild92. shamisen player
43. son of Buddhist priest (?)93. tea farmer
44. tea ceremony practitioner94. kendo master
45. illustrator95. kobudo master (yagyu-shinkageryu)
46. company director, No actor96. gardener, council employee
47. restaurant chef and owner97. kamishibai storyteller (paper theatre)
48. mother98. kimono weaver
49. retiree99. printer
50. classical pianist100. artist
The portraits were painted in a natural setting, which emphasised an exchange and communication between the artist and the models. The first sessions occurred in the painterʼs studio. It was soon evident that it was necessary to leave the "neutral" space of the studio, and meet and portray the subjects in settings familiar to them, at home or the workshop, which would then partially reveal their private lives and their personality. Most of the paintings were executed in Kyoto City. Yann Le Gal and Mayphy Miho Higashi also visited different places in Kyoto prefecture, such as Ine-cho, Kyotamba, Minami Yamashiromura and Kizugawa, providing them with unique and original experiences, which transformed this pictorial project into a genuine human adventure.






Due to the topic and its implementation, this work appears to follow early modern art, as a disguised tribute to the works of Degas and Manet. The painter, armed with the tools of painting—plywood, brushes and colours—leaves the studio to discover the world and meet its people with the intention of capturing a specific moment, the atmosphere and energy of life that imbue an instant. Each portrait was rapidly completed, from under two hours to four hours at most, with the intention of keeping the freshness and spontaneity of a first draft.






Documentary resource
These meetings were not only devoted to the creation of paintings. A register containing photographs and interviews by Mayphy Miho Higashi communicate the painting process, and also provide information on the lives of these people. These archives are an inherent part of the collection.

n°13, Shimada Ujo, calligraphy master.

n°41, Yasui Katsu, Hundred years old retired.

n°58, Nagahama Tameji, fisher.

n°94, Nishiue Kiyomitsu, kendo master.

n°91, Fukuda masaru, Buddhist priest.

n°80, Hasegawa Junichi, shuttle maker for kimono loom.

Register of models

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