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Two fragments of a screen

Two fragments of a screen

Dated 1742
Ink and colours on paper
L : 39 cm W : 91 cm
M.C. 8893

Ōgata Kenzan and his brother Kōrin are two major artists from the early Edo Period (1605 – 1867). They came from a family of Kyōto cloth merchants, who supplied goods to the imperial family before going bankrupt.

Ogata Kenzan and his brother Korin are two of the major artists of the early Edo period (1605-1867). They came from a family of cloth merchants of Kyoto, which provided for the imperial family before going bankrupt.

In 1689, two years after the death of his father, Kenzan founded the Shuseido kiln, next to the Ninnaji temple where the great ceramist of the 17th century, Nonomura Ninsei (c.1574-1660) had a kiln. Even more than his painting, it is his ceramics that gave Kenzan the innovative and easily recognizable style from which he gained his reputation. Kenzan continued the work of pottery for his entire life and had workshops northwest of Kyoto in Narutaki, in the heart of the imperial city at Niko starting in 1712, and finally in Edo (Tokyo) in 1731, where, at the age of 69 years, he decided to settle down. In the beginning, the two brothers collaborated to create ceramics, Kensan designing the shapes and calligraphic inscriptions, Korin designing the decorations. 

In painting, Kenzan was formed by the teachings of Kano Yasunobu and was influenced by his brother Korin; works such as these two pieces of screen clearly bear the mark. The same theme of hollyhocks (tachiaoi) was used by Korin (see Nishimoto, 1981, No. 14). These two fragments are typical of the stylization of the elements that characterize the style of Kenzan and Korin, very similar to the decorative arts, including textile printing. Dating from the end of Kenzan’s life, these two fragments of a screen, which is among his last works, carry the signature of the master and mention his age: 80 years. 

Collection : Japanese graphic arts
Marques Inscriptions Poinçons : Karaku hachijû kan shô ga
Mode d'acquisition : Donation of Umehara Ryūzaburō, 1959.

Biblio. : Nishimoto, Kōrin. Kenzan (Meihō Nihon no bijutsu, n°20), Tōkyō, Shogakkan, 1981, ill.72-73.

Two fragments of a screen
© Musée Cernuschi