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Uemura Shoen (1875-1949)
Uemura Shoen (1875-1949)

Beauties of the twelve months

Details
Uemura Shoen (1875-1949)
Beauties of the twelve months
Signed and dated Meiji hinoto tori shoka (early summer, 1897) Shoen me e, also signed Joson uji onna Shoen ga and Shoen me, sealed Tsune in and Shoen
Pair of six-panel screens; ink, color and gold on silk
40½ x 13¾ in. (102.9 x 35cm.) each image

Lot Essay

Shoen's entry Yujo kiyu (The Courtesan Kiyu) in the 9th Shinkobijutsuhin exhibition, 1904, was defaced by someone allegedly jealous of her fame. The exhibition authorities were unsympathetic, stating only that the work was unsightly and should be repaired by the next morning. Angry, Shoen abandoned the work and the exhibition. Those days were not like nowadays, she later reflected, as she suffered hardships and ill treatment by society and her colleagues. To prevail, she said, she studied hard, hoping to put her enemies to shame in the future.

Her original signature was "Shoen me" (Shoen, woman), as here, or Shoen joshi" (Ms. Shoen). She used this signature until 1924 when she was elected judge of the 5th Exhibition of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts (Teiten), the only female painter so honored. To judge at this exhibition was prestigious and she began to sign her work simply "Shoen."
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