Yokoyama Taikan (1868-1958)
Yokoyama Taikan (1868-1958)

Pine trees and cranes

Yokoyama Taikan (1868-1958)
Pine trees and cranes
Each signed and sealed Taikan
Pair of six-panel screens; ink, color, gold and gold leaf on paper

67 x 151 1/8in. (170.2 x 383.9cm.) each (2)
Previously sold Sotheby's, New York, 18 September 1998, lot 510

Lot Essay

Yokoyama Taikan was born in Ibaragi Prefecture, but his family soon moved to Tokyo where he was educated. Taikan studied painting briefly with Yuki Masaaki (1834-1904) when he was accepted as a student in the Tokyo Art School, the school founded under Ministry of Education auspices by Okakura Tenshin (1862-1913) to teach Japanese-style painting (Nihonga). Taikan studied painting under many masters there, but was particularly impressed with Hashimoto Gaho (1835-1908), the last of the great Kano school painters. Taikan joined the Art School faculty, then participated in the mass resignation when Okakura was dismissed. Taikan became a founding member of the Japan Art Institute in 1898, and remained one of its officers until his death. He traveled to India in 1903 at Okakura's behest, then accompanied Okakura to America in 1904. Taikan often found himself in contention with the Ministry of Education because of his individualism and strong principles, with the result that the Japan Art Institute spent many years outside of the government-sponsored competitive exhibition system. In his late years, as one of the true patriarchs of Nihonga, Taikan became alarmed at the increasingly Western character of Nihonga and worked to preserve its traditional basis. In addition to his Art Institute duties, Taikan served as a judge for government-sponsored exhibitions such as Bunten and Teiten, judged the Inten, was elected a Court Artist in 1931, became a member of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts in 1935, and was among the first to receive the Order of Cultural Merit in 1937.

The pigment found on the lacquer frame of the screen indicates that Taikan painted directly onto gold-leafed paper already mounted onto screen frames. The style of the signature and seal date the screens to the 1910s, the early Taisho period (1912-26).

Attached to the verso of each screen is a certificate of authenticity by Taikan's granddaugther, Yokoyama Miyoko. The certificates are inscribed Taikan hitsu shokaku zu Miyoko kan tomono dai (Painting of pines and cranes by Taikan, titled and certified by Miyoko) with her two seals and the Taikan Kinenkan registration no. mi-11.

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