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Pair of six-panel folding screens, ink and color on silk
Panel: 169 x 372 cm (66 9/16 x 146 7/16 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 2015.64.1
The tree on which three white herons stand may be a paulownia. Judicious use of ink wash across the composition evokes misting rain. The screens are an example of modern Japanese painting, or nihonga (literally “Japanese painting”) that draws upon the style established by Maruyama Ōkyō (1733–1795). Nihonga was developed in the Meiji period in response to the influx of information about European painting and culture that became available to artists in Japan in the mid-1800s and early 1900s. The goal was to reinterpret traditional styles and formats of Japanese painting in order to correct for a perceived lack of relevance to modern sensibilities. In this composition, Setsuden uses a color palette that borrows from Western Impressionism and Postimpressionism. A Kyoto-based artist, Setsuden was awarded a medal at the sixth Ministry of Education Exhibition (Bunten) in 1912 for a two-panel folding screen also featuring the theme of birds in rain.
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