January 2020 Art News
Van Gogh peers out of the canvas with a sidelong, suspicious glance. With hollowed cheeks and a full beard, the painter is recognizable but also doesn’t look as composed and self-possessed as in his numerous other self-portraits. The painting’s surface is rough, with thick brushstrokes that are ragged and aggressive, less precise and controlled than in Van Gogh’s other works.
The division between the personal and professional lives of New York-based artists Rakuko Naito and Tadaaki Kuwayama has long been blurred. For decades, the Japanese-born couple — who immigrated to Manhattan just after their marriage in 1958 — have shared a rambling mixed-use loft space in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighbourhood with a common living space flanked by separate studios. ‘He’s over there and my studio is over here,’ explains the soft-spoken Naito.