It has been reported that Hirafuku Hyakusui observed the morning dew on the grass at Tokyo’s Yoyogi parade grounds for two years before painting this work—a meadow at dawn. Similar to other painters of the period, he sought to inject a degree of naturalism into the flattened, decorative features of the nihongastyle, whose practitioners claimed a lineage to Sōtatsu and Kōrin.
“Since the early to middle years of the Edo period,” he wrote, “Sōtatsu and Kōrin must be numbered first among the people who painted magnificent, fine work.” Hirafuku admired Sōtatsu for his ability to interpret the classics and because his compositions were more uninhibited than Kōrin’s.
Hirafuku Hyakusui (1877–1933)
Pair of six-panel folding screens
Color on silk
Sannomaru Shōzōkan, Museum of the Imperial Collections, Tokyo