Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Kawai, Gyokudo

Morning Snow
ink and color on silk
54.5 × 72.5 cm
Fuji Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan

Kawai, Gyokudo (1873 - 1957) was the pseudonym of a Japanese style painter, active from Meiji through Showa period Japan.
Gyokudo was born in Aichi Prefecture, as the eldest son of a paper, ink and brush merchant. He was recognized as a great painter from his childhood. He is noted for his polychrome and occasionally monochrome works depicting the mountains and rivers of Japan in the four seasons, with humans and animals shown as part of the natural landscape. Throughout his career, his great passion was to capture Japan's vast landscapes, particularly the countryside, in soft and nostalgic tones.

Gyokudo developed a new aesthetic of Japanese painting by mixing the styles of two popular schools of the time: the Kano school and the Maruyama-shijo school. He is well known for subtle polychrome sumi-ink depictions that skillfully use flowing lines to give images a dynamic and yet often delicate impression. In 1940, he was awarded the Order of Culture by the Japanese government. Most of his works are preserved and displayed at the Gyokudo Art Museum, in Ome, Tokyo.