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Uragami Gyokudo (1745 - 1820)

Lot 1184: Uragami Gyokudo (1745-1820) Landscape with Figure

Bonhams 2

September 13, 2017
New York, NY, US

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Landscape with Figure
An album leaf mounted as a hanging scroll, ink on paper; entitled Kantei shokushin (Base of a waterfall, gathering firewood), signed Gyokudo, with one seal Gyokudo kinshi (impressed upside down)
With two wood storage boxes, one with collector's inscription
10 x 6 7/8in (25.5 x 17.6cm)


  • Uragami Gyokudo (1745-1820) is one of the most fascinating artists of the Edo period. Though not a professional painter--he prided himself more on his expertise with the qin (a Chinese zither-like instrument)--his paintings are surprisingly in tune with a twentieth- or twenty-first-century sensibility. Landscapes that turn and twist, mountain peaks that tilt, odd circular "rock"-like forms that both define and defy nature, brushwork not merely descriptive or simply abstract--Gyokudo's landscapes captivate the most jaded modern eye that disparages all but contemporary art. Seemly simple, his execution is extremely sophisticated, recalling the best of Chinese literati painting. The brushwork, the interweaving and overlaying of wet and dry brushstrokes, the use of heavy and light ink, and the sense of abandon despite his total control of the medium, are accompanied by a sensibility that conveys an intensity and monumentality to the smallest of works. All in a state of continual flux, always intriguing, never resting but still a with sense of tranquility, the artistic image of this visionary still resonates without boundaries in today's world.

    An excellent monograph on this extraordinary artist is presented in James Cahill, Scholar Painters of Japan: The Nanga School, New York, Asia Society, 1972, pp.71-86.

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Fine Japanese Art

Bonhams 2
September 13, 2017, 10:00 AM EST

New York, NY, US