Volume 43 – Number 3
'Colorful Realm: Japanese Bird-and-Flower Paintings by Ito Jakuchu (1716-1800)' at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Cover: Detail of Peonies and
Butterflies, from Colorful Realm
of Living Beings (Doshoku sai-e)
By Ito Jakuchu (1716-1800), c. 1757
Hanging scroll, ink and colours on silk
Height 142 cm, width 79.8 cm
Sannomaru Shozokan Museum,
The Museum of the Imperial Collections,
The Imperial Household Agency
The focus of our April issue is the Edo period Japanese artist Ito Jakuchu and recent scholarship on his oeuvre. Kobayashi Tadashi, Ota Aya, Yukio Lippit and Melinda Takeuchi explore aspects of Jakuchu's life and work, including an overview of his stylistic development; discoveries following the six-year-long conservation of Colorful Realm of Living Beings (Doshoku sai-e), a set of thirty scrolls in the collection of The Imperial Household Agency of Japan; and notions of realism in 18th century Japan through an investigation of Jakuchu’s observations of the natural world. Tsuji Nobuo and Joe Price discuss the resurgence of interest in the artist’s work and single out the paintings that have the greatest personal significance for them. Colorful Realm is being shown in its entirety in the US for the first time this spring, in the exhibition ‘Colorful Realm: Japanese Bird-and-Flower Paintings by Ito Jakuchu (1716-1800)’ at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, marking the centenary of the city’s Cherry Blossom Festival.
In other features, Adele Schlombs and Helmut Neumann pay tribute, respectively, to Roger Goepper and Augusto Gansser. Rose Kerr reviews Provenance by Roy Davids and Dominic Jellinek, while Colin Mackenzie guides us around the newly renovated galleries at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. In our commentary, John Sanday reports on the state of the painting conservation at Thubchen Gompa in Mustang.