Winter landscape: a ravine

Artist: Kanō Hōgai 狩野芳崖 (1828-1888)
Historical period(s)
Meiji era, 1883
Ink on paper
H x W (image): 136.9 × 61.8 cm (53 15/16 × 24 5/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

Japan, kakemono, landscape, Meiji era (1868 - 1912), winter

To 1902
Ernest Francisco Fenollosa (1853-1908), New York, NY, and Spring Hill, AL, to 1902 [1]

From 1902 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Ernest Francisco Fenollosa in 1902 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Kakemono List, L. 283, pg. 65, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Ernest Francisco Fenollosa (C.L. Freer source) 1853-1908
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


This evening landscape reflects the artist Kano Hogai's study of earlier Chinese and Japanese ink painters, including Sesshu (1420-1506). Many of Hogai's landscapes reflect his study of the dense rock and mountain compositions and the rendering of spatial depth that are characteristic of Sesshu. Hogai's approach to the traditional subject of ink landscape painting stresses dramatic compositions featuring strong contrasts of ink tonality and selective reduction of detail that creates a somewhat abstract image. Hogai had not yet begun his study of Western art, but his emphasis of rational articulation of space contributed to the acceptance of his work by foreign collectors and audiences.

This landscape was exhibited in Japan in the 1884 Second Competitive Show for the Promotion of National Painting that was sponsored by the Meiji government to promote the preservation and revival of traditional painting at a time when Western painting was of increasing interest to some Japanese artists. The painting had been commissioned by the American educator and art patron Ernest F. Fenellosa, who had taken a personal interest in Hogai's work since seeing a painting of his in an exhibition the previous year.

Published References
  • Japanese Masterpieces from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. .
  • Okakura Shusui, Honda Tenjo. Kano Hogai ibokucho [Paintings by Kano Hogai]. Tokyo. pl. 33.
  • Ernest F. Fenollosa Papers: The Houghton Library, Harvard University. 2 vols., , Japanese ed. Tokyo. vol. 2: pl. 23.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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