Tsuji Kakō was born in Kyoto. At the age of nine he began to study painting under Kōno Bairei (1844–1895) one of the first great modernists. Bairei transmitted and adapted a style of lyrical realism developed in the eighteenth century by Maruyama Ōkyo (1733–1795). Kakō absorbed those lessons, but in the second decade of the twentieth century, while he was in his early fifties, he produced paintings—including Cranes of Immortality on the opposite wall—that were audaciously decorative in coloration and composition. The influence of Sōtatsu and Kōrin was clear.
Waterfowl in the Snow captures a startled flock of ducks alighting in dense, swirling snow. The scene may reference Sōtatsu’s flocks of cranes, but Kakō has added blinding snow. At first glance, his rendering of water seems to use tarashikomi, but it is actually a mixed-pigment technique unique to Kakō’s works.
Waterfowl in Snow
Tsuji Kakō (1870–1931)
Japan, ca. 1918
Ink, gofun, and colors on silk
Gift of Griffith and Patricia Way, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the
Seattle Art Museum, 2010.41.23