Chrysanthemums

A low screen depicting chrysanthemums in full bloom, the plant’s stem curving from right to left, on gold-leafed ground. The silent silhouettes of the white blossoms are contrasted with the variegated leaf shapes, rich in greens above and touched with brown below.

Maker(s)
Artist: Itō Jakuchū 伊藤若冲 (1716-1800)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, eighteenth century
Medium
Ink, color, and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 59 x 180.6 cm (23 1/4 x 71 1/8 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1980.198
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Screen (two-panel)

Keywords
Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, plant, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance research underway.
Description

A low screen depicting chrysanthemums in full bloom, the plant's stem curving from right to left, on gold-leafed ground. The silent silhouettes of the white blossoms are contrasted with the variegated leaf shapes, rich in greens above and touched with brown below.

Inscription(s)

1. (Y. Shimizu, from an exhibition label, 1981, see Comment 2) The stylistic attribution to Ito Jakuchu is supported by one of the pair of partially legible seals stamped on the lower right of the Freer screen. The top square seal in relief reads "Yu - (?)-sai tosho (?) (^j^)" recalling a similar seal stamped on a painting of Grapes done by Jakuchu in the 1750s. The bottom seal has not been deciphered.

Label

Jakuchu is regarded as one of the foremost individualist painters of eighteenth-century Japan. Owing allegiance to no particular stylistic school, Jakuchu--also a greengrocer in Kyoto's central market--received some professional training but painted only avocationally until his early forties. Friendship with important Zen prelates allowed him to study major collections of Chinese and Japanese paintings held in temple collections.

Jakuchu was ultimately a master of both polychrome and ink-monochrome forms. In this comparatively early work, he reveals his love for pattern and detail. The complex arrangements of green tones in the rendering of leaves are particularly telling of his interests.

Published References
  • , no. 39 Lexington, Massachusetts, 2018. p. 99, fig. 29.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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