Asia Week New York at Scholten Japanese Art
March 16-25, 2023
Scholten Japanese Art is suffering from an embarrassment of riches during this Asia Week. In addition to the gallery presentation, MULTIPLE MASTERS: Modern Prints & Paintings, a gathering of early modern works by masterful artists who produced paintings and prints, Scholten will also be offering Ukiyo-e Woodblock Prints from the Shin Collection, a simultaneous exhibition of ‘golden age’ figure prints of the late 18th century and magnificent 19th century landscapes.
MULTIPLE MASTERS: Modern Prints & Paintings
The MULTIPLE MASTERS exhibition will present a select group of works by major artists following the intertwined shin hanga (literally ‘new print’) and sosaku hanga (literally ‘creative print’) movements, both approaches seeking to revitalize Japanese printmaking in the modern era.
Ukiyo-e Woodblock Prints from the Shin Collection
In dialogue with the Multiple Masters exhibition, the Ukiyo-e Woodblock Prints from the Shin Collection reverberates back to the source-code of floating world imagery. Assembled by the audacious young gallerist, Hong Gyu Shin of the contemporary Shin Gallery in New York, the selection of ukiyo-e prints collected (many while studying art conservation at university) are a testament to an innate discerning eye.
fl. 1781 - 1801
New Year's Day at a Mansion in the Suburbs of Edo
(Edo no yashiki no shogatsu)
signed Shuncho ga with artist's seal Churinsha, and publisher's seal Sen-ichi-han (Izumiya Ichibei), ca. 1788
oban tate-e triptych 15 1/4 by 30 3/8 in., 38.7 by 77
A triptych illustrating a gathering of beauties at countryside villa. The pale pink blossoms on the plum tree in the upper right sheet suggest the timing is early spring, while the paper tassels tied along the edges of the verandah eves indicate this is a celebration of the New Year. At left, just inside the open shoji panels, two young girls arguing over a game of go, with a birdie and battledore discarded beside them on the porch and other elegant women standing or sitting nearby. In the foreground a small girl peers into a basin with turtles, and another girl stands near a dwarf pine holding a flowering plum branch. At the far right three beauties and a kamuro stand beside a cage containing cranes, one holding a battledore in her hands. In the middle distance we see a young man demonstrating calligraphy for two young women, and at the far distance are two torii gates and Mt. Fuji beyond.
This composition demonstrates a classic ukiyo-e pairing of conventional subjects with a decadent display of beautiful women. The pine tree, plum branches, and the bamboo at the left-hand edge are symbolic of longevity when depicted together, commonly known as ‘the three friends.’ Both the crane and the tortoise, represented by the basin of turtles, were known to have long lives, the crane was even thought to live hundreds of years. The combination of these elements would have clearly communicated a traditional theme of longevity which would have fared well under the sometimes strict scrutiny of the authorities at the time. Within this acceptable setting, Shuncho was able to exhibit his elegant beauties of the pleasure quarters.
While complete triptychs of this era are indeed rare, this print is even more remarkable when one considers its astoundingly fine condition with well-preserved and consistent color.
Harvard Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, accession no. 1928.14.152 (center sheet with fading)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession nos. 11.14760 (right sheet, Bigelow Collection); and 21.5911, 21.5912, 21.5913 (Spaulding Collection, complete triptych purchased in 1913 from Frank Lloyd Wright in Japan)
(inv. no. C-3685)
Viewing Cherry Blossoms at Asuka Hill
each sheet signed Eishi ga with publisher's tomo-e mark and square seal Eijudo han (Nishimura Yohachi of Eijudo), ca. 1789-90
oban tate-e triptych 14 3/8 by 29 1/2 in., 36.6 by 75 cm
This triptych depicting beauties enjoying cherry blossom viewing is a quintessential example representing the highpoint of Japanese woodblock print production frequently referred to as 'golden age' ukiyo-e. The parade of young women, modeling their elegant kimono fashions, stroll among several tea stalls. A banner or signboard on a teahouse in the distance identifies the establishment (or the specialty of their wares), Shigaraki, and a road marker along the path in the center sheet records gohyakuju ga (510). The location is Asuka Hill (Asakuyama), an area north of Edo famous for its cherry blossoms and frequently illustrated by Edo period artists. Although located at a significant distance from central Edo, the five-mile excursion rewarded visitors with cherry blossom viewing serviced by teahouses, and an expansive view to the north of farmland and rice paddies with Mount Tsukuba in the distance.
While 18th century classical bijin-ga prints with well-preserved color are rare enough, it is extremely unusual to find a multi-panel print of this level of quality and condition en suite. Individual sheets are reproduced in the Tokyo National Museum catalogue; in Binyon's 1916 catalogue of Chinese and Japanese prints in the British Museum; and in a scarce catalogue of the 1910 exhibition of the John Hilditch collection in the City of Manchester, England . As such, Brandt's 1977 catalogue raisonné, Hosoda Eishi, 1756-1829, combines black and white photos from these three sources to illustrate the complete triptych.
John Hilditch, Illustrated Catalogue of a Collection of Chinese Paintings, Japanese Paintings, and Colour Prints- Lent by John Hilditch, Esq, City Art Gallery, Manchester, 1910, p. 36-37, no. 325
Laurence Binyon, A Catalogue of Japanese and Chinese Woodcuts Preserved in the Sub-Department of Oriental Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, 1916, no. 1 (center sheet)
Tokyo National Museum, Illustrated Catalogues of the Tokyo National Museum Ukiyo-e Prints, 1962, vol. II, no. 2249 (right sheet)
Klaus J. Brandt, Hosoda Eishi, 1756-1827, 1977, catalog p. 111, no. 32; illustration pl. 11, fig. 152, no. 32 (complete triptych)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boson, accession no. 11.14037 (center sheet)
British Museum, registration no. 1906,1220,0.267 (center sheet)
(inv. no. C-3684)
Men's Stamping Dances
deluxe kyoka bon (collection of comic verse) in orihon (folding accordion album) format, the dark blue covers painted with gold pine trees and horizontal bands of mist, with original title slip, Otoko toka, within an old protective brocade chitsu (portfolio) with hand-brushed paper label, Otoko toka, Kansei junen kan (Kansei 10 , published), the portfolio label and its spine inscribed with Romanji title, Otoko doka, and Sotheby's lot tag no. 247 from 1992 Schlosser auction, with oval collector's seal Kemfuru (Kaempfer) inside the chitsu and again on the album preface; comprised of 39 unnumbered leaves, an anthology of poetry compiled by Asakusa-an Ichihito (1755-1821) with calligraphy by Kakei Rogyo (active. ca. 1798) interspersed with six double-page illustrations, the final page with red collector's seal Getsumei so (Shigeo Sorimachi, 1901-1991); 1798
open 10 by 14 3/4 in., 25.2 by 37.6 cm
orihon: 10 by 7 3/4 in., 25.5 by by 19.8 cm
This anthology of New Year's kyoka verses is among the last of the great large-format deluxe poetry albums issued during the brief period between 1794 and 1798. The deluxe albums assembled during this high point were published by the firm of Tsutaya Juzaburo (1750-1797) and organized by leading poets of the day, principally Tsuburi no Hikaru (1754-1796) affiliated with the Yomo poetry group, and by the prominent kyoka poet Asakusa-an Ichihito (1755-1820) following the former's death in 1796. The title, Otoko Toka (or Otoko Doka, variously translated as Men's Stamping/Stomping Dances, or Stamping Song of Men) refers to ancient court dances associated with the lunar New Year festivities.
Ex. Sorimachi Shigeo, (antiquarian book dealer, prominent collector & scholar, 1901-1991), Tokyo
Ex. Heinz M. Kaempfer (1904-1986), The Hague
Sotheby's London, A Collection of Japanese Prints, Illustrated Books and Paintings, December 18, 1986, lot 320 (illustrated on front & back cover)
Ex. Leonard Benjamin Schlosser (1924-1991), New York
Sotheby's New York, Collection of Japanese Illustrated Books Including the Leonard B. Schlosser Collection of Japanese Illustrated Books, June 4, 1992, lot no. 247, color plates 18A-18E, and cover
Eight Views of Omi: Night Rain at Karasaki
(Omi Hakkei: Karasaki no yau)
signed Hiroshige ga with publisher's seal Eikyudo (Yamamotoya Heikichi), and partially trimmed censor's seal at lower left margin kiwame (approved), ca. 1835
9 3/4 by 14 1/4 in., 24.9 by 36.2 cm
Surely among the most lyrical of Hiroshige's compositions, this dramatic view of a curtain of rain enveloping the ancient pine at Karasaki is considered one of the artist's masterpieces. As Hillier so aptly described in 1960: "This is one of the most daring of Hiroshige's concepts, for the realisation of which he inspired the colour-printer to bring of a technical triumph--in fact, at first flush the print might be thought as much the printer's masterpiece as Hiroshige's. But the imaginative approach was the artist's, and he alone, with his knowledge of what the medium could achieve, foresaw the possibilities of the subject and guided the printer to give the conception reality." And in his catalogue accompanying the landmark exhibition at the Royal Academy in London, Hiroshige, Forrer notes that the publisher Yamamotoya Heikichi advertised the sophisticated series as 'in ink with light color washes' and asserts that Eight Views is the artist's "most coherent and impressive" series. (Forrer, p. 19)
Although this coveted series was not issued in quantities comparable to Hiroshige's slightly earlier Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido, there are nevertheless notable variations among surviving examples of this design. Indeed, it is remarkable how the original intention of a limited palette could yield a complex array of creative interpretations once in the hands of master printers. Opinions are largely divided with little consensus regarding the order in which printing changes may have been initiated as comparisons of extant impressions reveal few convincing inflection points. The primary differences are found in the handling of the dark bokashi on the boughs of the pine, the color of the stone retaining wall (either grey or blue), and the appearance (or disappearance) of Mount Fuji in the distance to the right of the tree and to the left of the boat masts.
Jack Hillier, Landscape Prints of Old Japan (Grabhorn Collection), 1960, no. 39
HIROSHIGE: A James A. Michener Collection, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 1991, p.66, no. III-4-A
Someya Seiichiro, HIROSHIGE: Ukiyo-e Collected by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1996, p.60, no. 109
Asano Shugo et al., Ukiyo-e: A Journey Through the Floating World, 1997, p. 200, no. 300 & no. 301
Matthi Forrer, HIROSHIGE: Prints and Drawings, Royal Academy of Arts, , 1997, pp. 19-21l no. 71
(inv. no. C-3688)
The Sixty-nine Stations of the Kisokaido Road: No. 41, Nojiri, Distant View of the Ina River Bridge
(Kisoji no eki: yonju ichi, Nojiri, Inakawa-bashi enbo: Yonju ichi, Nojiri, Inakawa-bashi enbo)
signed Keisai ga, followed by red publisher's seals Takenouchi and Hoeido (Takenouchi Magohachi of Hoeido), numbered in red seal, yonju-ichi (no. 41) and titled Kisoji no eki, Nojiri, Inakawa-bashi enbo, censor's seal kiwame (approved), and publisher's seal Take on the bottom left margin, ca. 1935-36
oban yoko-e 10 by 15 1/8 in., 25.3 by 38.5 cm
Marks and Paget note that while the Nojiri station was located in the Kiso River valley, Eisen chose to illustrate a view of Ina River, a tributary of the Kiso which was close to the previous station, Suhara. Eisen based his composition on an illustration of the area by Nishimura Chuwa published in 1805 in volume 3 of the guidebook by Akisato Ritoh, Views of Famous Sights along the Kiso Road (Kisoji meisho zue). Eisen's imaginative composition exaggerates the short bridge over the gently flowing Ina River into a cascading waterfall bursting forth from a narrow precipice below a steeply arched bridge (the negative space beneath the span forming an unmistakeable visual reference to the peak of Mt. Fuji), the green terrain fading into pale blue bokashi with an un-inked area along the bottom edge suggesting rising mist. To the right, travelers ascend the narrow road approaching the bridge, with geese descending below the span into the valley beyond. At far left, the stairs to the Joshoji temple emerge from a haze of grey bokashi with overlapping blue and grey mountain peaks in the distance.
This is a remarkably fine and early impression of this composition which likely was printed very early in the run, likely a variation of what Marks and Paget identify as the A edition. Later impressions omit the descending geese, the bokashi on the lower hills, and the artist's signature, and later printings published by Yamadaya eliminate most bokashi and barely print the distant mountains.
Keisai Eisen Ten, Ota Memorial Museum of Art, 1997, p. 71, no. 184
Keisai Eisen: Artist of the Floating World, Chiba City Museum of Art, 2012, p. 299; Eisen Nishiki-e Index, nos. 752-19
Andreas Marks & Rhiannon Paget, Hiroshige & Eisen: Sixty-Nine Stations along the Kisokaido, 2017, p. 130, no. 41; Colour Variations, p. 212
British Museum, London (britishmuseum.org), museum no. 1941,0208,0.5 (similar impression)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (mfa.org), accession nos. 11.2002, 11.25651, 11.25652, 21.4817
Waseda University Library, Kisoji meisho zue, 1805, vol. 3, spread 17, call no. E0206
(inv. no. C-3687)
Kisoji meisho zue, by Nishimura Chuwa, 1805 (Waseda University Library)
detail of Nishimura Chuwa's composition, with Ina River identified and Joshoji Temple in distance
One Hundred Famous Views of Edo: Ichigaya Hachiman Shrine
(Meisho Edo hyakkei: Ichigaya Hachiman)
signed Hiroshige ga, with publisher's seal on lower left margin, Shitaya Uo-Ei (Uoya Eikichi), and date seal, Uma-ju (year of the horse , 10th month)
oban tate-e 14 1/4 by 10 3/8 in., 36.1 by 26.3 cm
Perched on a small hill across from the embankment of the outer moat of Edo Castle, the Hachiman Shinto shrine in Ichigaya featured a theater within the shrine precincts and was well-known as a locale favored by prostitutes offering their services.
Bearing a censor seal dated one month after Hiroshige died suddenly from cholera in the 9th lunar month of 1858, this is one of three designs from the series which some scholars attribute to Hiroshige II. Although it is entirely possible that the design was produced by Hiroshige before his untimely death, scholars have noted a slight change in the signature on the three designs, and the employment of distinctively wider suyarigasumi bands of stylized clouds on this and one other of the designs, Ueno Yamashita. That said, while there is some consensus that the third, Bikuni Bridge in Snow, appears to be the work of a different artist, presumably Utagawa Hiroshige (Shigenobu, 1826-1869), scholars are divided on question of Ueno Yamashita and this design.
Henry D. Smith II, One Hundred Famous Views of Edo: Illustrations by Hiroshige, George Braziller & Brooklyn Museum of Art, 1986, no. 41 (no. 12 & no. 114, re: Hiroshige II)
Yamaguchi Keizaburo, Meihin Soroimono Ukiyo-e, Vol. X: Hiroshige I, 1991, no. 86
Mikhail Uspensky, One Hundred Views of Edo by Ando Hiroshige, 1997, p. 100, no. 41
Melanie Trede and Lorenz Bichler, Hiroshige: One Hundred Views of Edo, 2007, p. 132, no. 41
Goto Kenichiro, Kubo Tsunehiko and Sons Collection, Second Term: Ukiyo-e Hanga Edo-e Hen, 2009, p. 123, no. 97-40
Ichikawa Shinya, The Hara Yasusaburo Collection: HIROSHIGE VIVID Exhibition Catalogue, 2016, p. 208, no. II-25
Art Institute of Chicago, accession nos. 1939.1415, and 1965.1043 The British Museum, registration no. 1906,1220,0.644
Chazen Museum of Art, Johm H. Van Vleck Collection, accession no. 1980.1620
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (mfa.org), accession nos. 11.17055, 11.35851, 11.36876.30, 11.45662
(inv. no. C-3691)
Seasons of the Pleasure Quarters: no.1, Autumn; no.2, Spring; no.3, Summer; and no.4, Winter
the complete set of four prints; signed Tsunetomi hitsu, published by Nakajima Jutaro (Nakajima Seikado, Tokyo) in a limited edition of 500 (numbered on the original folders), ca. June 1918
no. 1, Autumn: 15 1/2 by 10 3/4 in., 39.5 by 26 cm
no. 2, Spring: 15 3/8 by 10 3/8 in., 39.2 by 26.3 cm
no. 3, Summer 15 3/8 by 10 3/4 in., 39.2 by 26 cm
no. 4, Winter: 15 1/2 by 10 3/8 in., 39.5 by 26.3 cm
Although Kitano Tsunetomi was born in Kanazawa, he moved to Osaka as a young man where he would establish himself as a leading master of bijin-ga, and in his own lifetime, earn recognition as the first Nihonga artist from Osaka. He began his artistic career from 1892 to 1895 as an apprentice at woodblock printing shops in his hometown. In 1897 he worked for the carver Nakayama Komataro, before moving to Osaka in 1898 to study with the painter and print designer Ineno Toshitsune (1858-1907), a former pupil of Mizuno Toshikata (1866-1908). In 1899 he began publishing illustrations in the monthly Shin-Nihon ('New Japan') while he also began studying yoga (Western-style painting).
He began self-publishing prints in 1918, starting with these four oban bijin-ga in the Seasons of the Pleasure Quarters set. The prints would have originally been issued by the publisher together in a folder decorated with thistle on the front with the artist's signature series title, publisher's name, and a hand-numbered limited edition stamp. The verso of the folders were dated June 1918 and reiterated the artist and publisher details, and creditng the printer Tadakoro Rikimatsu.
Kato Junzo, comp., Kindai Nihon hanga taikei, 1975-76, Vol. III, pl. 102 (Winter), pl. 103 (Spring)
Amy Reigle Stephens, gen. ed., The New Wave, 1993, p. 132, pl. 137 (Winter)
Kendall H. Brown, Light in Darkness, 1996, p. 54, no. 59 (Winter), no. 60 (Summer)
Amy Reigle Neland, and Hamanaka Shinji, The Female Image, 2000, nos. 102-105
Amy Reigle Newland, gen. ed., Printed to Perfection, 2004, p. 66, no. 45 (Winter, featured also on cover)
Koyama Shuko, Beautiful Shin Hanga- Revitalization of Ukiyo-e, Tokyo Metropolitan Edo-Tokyo Museum, 2009, p. 187, no. 4-69 (Winter)
Ukiyo-e Modern, Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, 2018, p. 31, no. 30 (Winter)
Abe Shuichi, Prints of Japanese Beauties in the 20th Century, 2022, pp. 84-85, nos. 118-121
(inv. no. 10-5577)
Kumoi Cherry Tree
signed in sumi ink, Yoshida, with red artist's seal Hiroshi, and jizuri (self-printed) seal on left margin, followed by the date, Taisho jugonen saku (made in Taisho 15 ), followed by the title, Kumoizakura, with English title in pencil on the bottom margin, Kumoi cherry trees, and pencil signature Hiroshi Yoshida, with carver's seal of Maeda Yujiro (1889-1957), ca. 1926
23 by 29 1/8 in., 58.5 by 74 cm
This print from 1926 is based on a large watercolor painting, Memories of Japan (71 by 94 cm.), which was first exhibited at the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1899 and was purchased shortly thereafter by the museum through a special public subscription which raised $500 for the acquisition. The subject portrays the daughters of the artist Kawai Shinzo (1867-1936) viewing blossoming cherry trees at Mount Yoshino in the moonlight. Twenty-seven years later Yoshida simplifies the composition slightly for the print format by reducing the number of figures from five to two and removing foliage and grasses from the foreground. In order to produce such an unusually large woodblock print, Yoshida divided the composition into three separate sections- a technical feat which is impossible to detect on the end result. Given the printing challenges it is not surprising Blair records in the 1930 Toledo Museum of Art exhibition catalogue that Yoshida produced only fifty impressions of this monumental print.
Dorothy Blair, Modern Japanese Prints, Toledo Museum of Art, 1930, cat. no. 298
Ogura Tadao, Yoshida Hiroshi zenhangashu (The Complete Woodblock Prints of Hiroshi Yoshida), 1987, p. 80, no. 76
Yoshida Hiroshi: Woodblock Print Exhibition, Kushigata Shunsen Museum of Art, 1994, cat. no. 62
Hiroshi Yoshida Exhibition: A Master of Modern Landscape Painting, Fukuoka Museum, 1996, p. 138, no. 119
Yoshida Hiroshi Exhibition, MOA Museum of Art, 2000, p. 73, no. 93
Laura W. Allen, ed., A Japanese Legacy: Four Generations of Yoshida Family Artists, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2002, cat. no. 3 Memories of Japan watercolor, cat. no. 15 Kumoi Cherry Trees print from Fukuoka Museum of Art
Carolyn M. Putney, et. al., Fresh Impressions: Early Modern Japanese Prints, Toledo Museum of Art, 2013, p. 296, cat. 305
Yoshida Hiroshi: A Retrospective, Chiba City Museum of Art, 2016, p. 178, no. 4-77
(inv. no. C-3699)
Twenty Views of Tokyo: Shiba Zojo Temple
(Tokyo Nijukkei: Shiba Zojoji)
signed Hasui with artist's seal Kawase, with the print title on the left margin, Shiba Zojoji, and the date below, Taisho juyonen saku (Taisho 14 ), and the publisher's (Hotei 'B') seal on the lower right margin Hanken shoyu Watanabe Shozaburo (Copyright ownership Watanabe Shozaburo), 1925
oban tate-e 15 3/8 by 10 3/8 in., 38.9 by 26.3 cm
In recent years this print has vaulted from Hasui's most popular print, to the most famous shin-hanga landscape, and most recently, possibly one of the most recognizable Japanese woodblock prints of all, achieving its status as an icon of the genre in just under a century. This steady climb to fame began at its inception, it was a great success when Watanabe released it as the first print in the Twenty Views of Tokyo series which was published between 1925 and 1930. According to Narazaki, due to the immediate success of the design, additional batches were ordered, including a final run in 1933, but thereafter Watanabe decided to stop producing it even though the blocks were available, and they could have sold many, many more.
Dorothy Blair, Modern Japanese Prints, The Toledo Museum of Art, 1930, no. 81
Kato, Junzo, comp., Kindai Nihon hanga taikei, 1975-76, Vol. III, pl. 14
Narazaki Muneshige, Kawase Hasui mokuhanga shu, 1979, p. 56, no. 147
Irwin J. Pachter, Kawase Hasui and His Contemporaries, 1986, p. 55, no. 42
Kendall H. Brown, Kawase Hasui: The complete woodblock prints, 2003, p. 356, no. 147
Kendall H. Brown, Visions of Japan: Kawase Hasui's Masterpieces, 2004, p. 55, no. 19 (also cover)
Shimada City Museum, Kawase Hasui, The landscape woodblock prints of the Taisho and Showa periods, 2005, p. 60, no. 91
Abe Publishing, Kawase Hasui Woodblock Prints, 2009, p. 68, no. 94
Chiba City Museum of Art, Kawase Hasui, 2013, p. 87, no. 81
Carolyn M. Putney, Fresh Impressions: Early Modern Japanese Prints, Toledo Museum of Art, 2013, pp. 140-141, cat. no. 85
Kendall Brown, Water and Shadow: Kawase Hasui and Japanese Landscape Prints, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 2014, p. 41, no. III.9
Ukiyo-e Modern, Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, 2018, p. 88, no.137
(inv. no. 10-5454)
a beauty holding an umbrella, hanging scroll, ink and colors on silk; signed Masahiko, followed by red artist's seal Murasaki, ca. 1922-26
painting 10 3/8 by 9 3/8 in, 26.4 by 23.8 cm
overall 57 7/8 by 22 1/2 in., 147 by 57 cm
Torii Kotondo was born as Saito Shin in 1900 in the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo. His father was Torii Kiyotada IV (Torii Kiyotada VII, 1875-1941), the fourth-generation of the Kiyotada name and the seventh-generation head of the Torii School (the traditional artists of the kabuki theater). At the age of fourteen, his father gave him his new go (art name), 'Kotondo'. Under the name of Kotondo he illustrated magazines, kabuki billboards, and theater programs. In 1915 he contributed designs of actors to the pamphlet, Shin Nigao-e (New Portraits of Actors) also known as Yakusha-e (Portraits of Actors) as did several other shin-hanga artists such as Yamamura Koka (Toyonari, 1885-1942), and Natori Shunsen (1886-1960). In 1917 Kotondo started an apprenticeship with the Nihonga (Japanese style) artist Kobori Tomone (1864-1931) who specialized in historical subjects. Following the advice of his father, later in the same year he also began studying bijinga with Kaburaki Kiyokata (1878-1972), even though Kiyokata was associated with the rival ukiyo-e school of Utagawa artists. Perhaps by 1917 the sense of competition between the schools had diminished, along with ukiyo-e itself, and Kiyokata was a logical choice as the head of a vibrant atelier who also happened to be an ardent kabuki enthusiast, which would have been a valueable resource for Kotondo as a Torii school artist.
According to his daughter, Torii Kiyomitsu (9th head of the Torii School), Kotondo used the go (art name) Masahiko for a brief period "before and after the Great Kanto Earthquake (1923)" and then reverted to using the name Kotondo from the beginning of the Showa period (1926-1989).
EXHIBITED & PUBLISHED
Torii Kotondo, Gallery Beniya, 1995, p. 7 (Torii Kiyotada IX intro); p. 44, no. 11
Exhibition of Torii Kotondo: the 100th Anniversary of his Birth, The Works of Torii Kiyotada VIII, Ota Memorial Museum of Art, 2000, p. 13, no. 11
Andreas Marks, Seven Masters: 20th Century Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Wells Collection, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2015, pp. 185-189 (artist's bio)
(inv. no. C-3511)
ink, gofun, and colors on silk, mounted on brocade, signed Tsunetomi and sealed Tsunetomi; accompanied by tomobako with title, Hanayome, and signed and sealed Tsunetomi, ca. 1930
painting: 20 by 22 1/8 in., 50.7 by 56.2 cm
overall: 59 5/8 by 28 58 in., 151.5 by 72.7 cm
During the first two decades of the new century, Tsunetomi emerged as a successful bijin-ga painter and illustrator. His early work was particularly distinctive; while many artists of this period were portraying women as relatively sweet and innocent, Tsunetomi's beauties were infused with a compelling combination of mysterious sexuality and realistic vulnerabilities. In 1910 he began exhibiting his paintings at the government sponsored Bunten exhibitions, and from 1914 with Inten, the exhibition of the Nihon Bijutsu-in (Japan Art Institute). After he became a full member of the Nihon Bijutsu-in in 1917, Tsunetomi's paintings style changed. His depictions of bijin became more idealized and refined, with less emphasis on exploring further dimensions of their sexuality. He began self-publishing prints in 1918, and established his juku (private teaching atelier), Haku-yosha (White Radiance Company) where he taught other prominent Osaka artists such as Shima Seien (1892-1970) and Nakamura Teii (1900-1982).
This half-length portrait of a bride in profile relates directly to another painting of the same subject illustrated in the catalogue accompanying the 2003 Retrospective: Kitano Tsunetomi exhibition held at the Osaka City Museum of Modern Art (p. 98, no. 64); as well as a closer bust portrait of the same subject published in volume 3 of the Gendai Nihon Bijinga Zenshu (p. 85). Other paintings illustrated on the same pages feature beauties composed from a similar angle. The figures are rendered in profile with their steady gaze cast downward and away, contemplative and introspective, lost in thought and withdrawn from our realm.
Ex. Patricia Ann Salmon (1933-2022), Japanese art collector and dealer, and contributor to the 2002 landmark exhibition and publication, Taisho Chic
(inv. no. C-3623)
After the Rain - A Mild Spring Day
(Ugo - Haru-uraraka)
hanging scroll, ink, gofun, and color on silk; posthumously signed and sealed on the painting by Tateishi Hideharu (the artist's son), Harumi, accompanied by wood storage box likewise titled, signed and sealed by Hideharu: titled on the lid: Ugo (After the Rain), and signed and sealed on lid verso: Meguro Gajoen Bijitsukan kyuzo (former collection of Meguro Gajoen Art Museum), Harumi ga (painted by Harumi), sealed Harumi, and signed Tateishi Hideharu kan dai, with seal Hideharu; with inventory label on the back of the scroll, shigatsu gogatsu (4th month, 5th month), dai ni-san-kyu go (no. 239), mumei hitsu (signed, unnamed), gadai (titled): Haru-uraraka (A Mild Spring Day), ca. 1935
painting: 48 7/8 by 16 3/8 in., 124.2 by 41.6 cm
overall: 85 7/8 by 22 in., 218 by 56 cm
An elegant beauty walks along a paved pathway beside a canal. She is prepared for rain, carrying a deep red Western-style red umbrella and her feet are elevated in red-tipped ama-geta (lit. 'rain geta') protecting her hem from dragging in puddles. Her hair is coiffed in a modern style with coquette hair rolls at her temple cascading into a single roll toward the nape of her neck. The pattern on her kimono is decorated with butterflies and moths, representative of night and day as well as male and female subjects. Two pairs of mandarin ducks, symbolic of love and fidelity, are paired off in the canal zig-zagging behind her. The paved walkway and steep slopes planted with pines could be located along the retaining walls on the northside of the moat surrounding the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
Harumi was a favorite artist of Hosokawa Rikizo (1889-1945), the owner of the Meguro Gajoen (Palace of Lyrical Elegance), an entertainment complex built in the aftermath of the 1923 earthquake which opened in 1931. Hosokawa was a major patron of Nihonga artists and acquired at least thirty of Harumi's paintings for the extensive Meguro Gajoen Museum of Art collection. The collection was dispersed in 2005 and this painting was acquired by Patricia Salmon (1933-2022), a visionary collector and dealer who was a driving force behind the 2002 landmark publication and exhibition, Taisho Chic, at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Important works by Harumi are in the collections of The Cleveland Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where one of his most famous works, the two-panel screen, Clover (accession no. 2004.242) is found.
Hosokawa Rikizo (1889-1945); Meguro Gajoen Museum of Art, Tokyo
Patricia Ann Salmon (1933-2022)
Hosono Masanobu et al., Kindaino bijinga: Meguro Gagoen Korekushon (Paintings of Japanese Beauties at the Turn of the Century), 1988, pl. 379
(inv. no. C-3624)