NEW YORK – BachmannEckenstein | JapaneseArt is showing in its 11th year in New York as an Affiliate Member of the JADA (Japanese Art Dealers Association), and as a member of Asia Week New York. The respected Swiss dealers will also show again at Gallery Schlesinger | Franklin Riehlman Fine Art on 73rd Street off Madison Avenue.
This year’s focus will be on landscapes: dramatic, idealized, existing and imagined. They all
gravitate around the stylistic ideals of Literati painters from the 18th through to the early 20th centuries.
Japan’s Literati painters (also known as Nanga or Bunjinga) tried to emulate Chinese scholarly paintings for their ideal of art for art sake, rather than art for mere decoration or profit. Although travel to China was initially forbidden, woodblock printed books, collections of Chinese paintings within temples and the occasional itinerant Chinese painter served as educators for this style. In keeping with the principal of the scholar-recluse, they generally declined to serve the samurai class, instead eking out their living through patronage from educated merchants and farmers, and in the early Meiji period to the new government leaders. They often painted for each other and prided themselves on being intellectuals, poets, tea masters and raconteurs, as well as painters.
Below are a few highlights from some of the most prominent and interesting of the scholar-painters:
• Ikeno Taiga (1723-1776), a central figure of the second generation of Nanga painters, is
represented by a dense vertical summer mountain landscape, executed around 1760. The
limited use of color gives a warmth to the roughness of the mountain landscape.
• Kameda Bosai (1752-1826), best known for his calligraphy, in which he received formal
training. His landscapes are known for their simple compositions, and the spread and the
unevenness of the tones of his ink across the surface.
• Hine Taizan (1813-1869) called himself a professional Meiji literati painter; he was not only one of the leading literati masters of his time, but also one of the best landscape artists.
• Yamanaka Shinten’o (1822-1885) a self-taught versatile artist who was very well connected in the Kyoto literati world, he wasn’t only a participant, but also an important patron. His style typically shows landscapes with strong distortions and bold brushwork, primarily with just black ink, and only rarely with hints of other color. He made his own seals and an exceptionally wide range of them are used on his works.
• Tomioka Tessai (1836-1924) is another self-taught artist, but inspired by various known
artists of his time including Shinten’o. He reached his pinnacle in old age.
• Fukuda Kodojin (1865-1944) Stephen Addiss has described him as “the last great Nanga painter” and is readily identifiable easy by his erratic brushwork and radical form as in this eccentric waterfall landscape.
The Gallery Schlesinger | Franklin Riehlman Fine Art exhibition opening will be Friday, March 14 from 5-9 p.m., with the display open daily March 15-19 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information, call 212-734-3600.