Six-panel folding screen, ink on paper
Image: 150 x 356 cm (59 1/16 x 140 3/16 in.); Overall: 170 x 376 cm (66 15/16 x 148 1/16 in.)
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Sherman E. Lee 1960.284
Watanabe Shiko enjoyed a versatile and successful career, as well as a privileged upbringing, in Kyoto. His surviving work indicates a capacity to diligently study, master, and then interpret several painting techniques--each of which varies considerably in appearance. These byobu (folding screens), for instance, reflect training in the Kano school idiom that favored a monochromatic ink palette, vigorous brushwork, and traditional Chinese--rather than Japanese--subject matter. Shiko rendered this scenery in a particularly expansive manner, suggesting the vastness of China's topography relative to Japan's. Frequent visitors to the museum will recall that Shiko also painted the collection's favored pair of byobu, the Irises (1954.603.1&2).
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