This celebration of four centuries of Japanese art is astonishingly rich, vibrant, and detailed. Moving chronologically in a blend of sophisticated commentary and dazzling reproductions, its topics range from styles, schools, and trends to individual artists, including poet-artist Yosa Buson, Maruyama Okyo (founder of the realist school of Japanese painting), the three "eccentrics" of the eighteenth century, Hakuin and Zenga painting, ukiyo-e ("floating world") paintings, and more. This survey is unique because, unlike many, it moves beyond the Edo (1615-1868) period into the Meiji period, which saw a transformation in Japanese aesthetics with the establishment of new exhibition venues showing Western art. The idea of integrating outside elements with the Japanese spirit was viewed as fundamental to late nineteenth- and twentieth-century modernism, and resulted in the country's first oil paintings, the new classicism, paintings reflecting World War II and the postwar period, the work of avant-garde nanga painter Tomioka Tessai, and modern interpretations of Zen thought. Included is a chronology of historical periods, a detailed listing of exhibition works, and artists' seals. Lauren Roberts
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The Edo period in Japan, from 1615 to 1858, witnessed an unprecedented flourishing of the arts. During these long years of peace and relative stability, Japanese culture attained new levels of refinement and distinction. Innovative painting styles such as Rinpa, nanga, Maruyama-Shijo, ukiyo-e, and zenga flourished along with the traditional painting lineages of the Kano, Tosa, and Hasegawa schools. With the fall of the shogunate in 1868 and the subsequent Meiji restoration, many painting styles current in Edo were practiced along with Western-style oil painting and types that assimilated both Eastern and Western traditions.
In An Enduring Vision, twelve distinguished scholars examine Japanese painting in this vibrant period. The book opens with eminent guest curator Tadashi Kobayashiís overview of the exquisite paintings in the Gitter-Yelen collection. Stephen Addiss, Patricia J. Graham, Motoaki Kono, Johei Sasaki, and John T. Carpenter take up, respectively, Nanga, literati, and Rinpa painting, the Maruyama Shijo school,a and aspects of ukiyo-e painting during the Edo period. Patricia Fister, James T. Ulak, and Masatomo Kawai examine, respectively, the influences of Yosa Buson; the Eccentrics Ito Jakuchu, Soga Shohaku, and Nasagawa Rosetsu; and the Zen painter Hakuin Ekaku. Paul Berry addresses the transformation of traditional painting practices in 19th- and 20th-century Japan, and Christine M. E. Guth takes up aspects of nanga and zenga painting in America. In addition, catalogue entries offer fresh commentary on the background and context in which the artworks were created. All these texts are generously illustrated in color.
An Enduring Vision presents 138 exceptional artworks by the great masters of the Edo period as well as the paintings of their students, friends, and associates, whose relationships the authors explore and discuss. In addition to the artists mentioned above, the selection includes paintings by Ike Taiga, Sengai, and Tawaraya Sotatsu, among others. The catalogue offers a rare opportunity to appreciate in depth the ways in which these gifted individuals developed as artists. (source)