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12. Maruyama Ôkyo (1733-1795)
Nami - Waves
Signed: Ôkyo
Seals: Ôkyo noin, Chûsen
Technique: sumi on paper, 131.8 x 77.7
Date: mid-winter of 1779
Mounting: brown brocade and azure brocade
221 x 92.1
Box: double box
Condition: a few old restorations, otherwise good

From the former collection of Hirose Rukô (1839-1908), a banker, first director of the Osaka City museum, President of the Japanese Fire Insurance company etc. A known cultural Maecenas.

In Japan nowadays Ôkyo is just as well known as Hokusai, Van Gogh, or Rembrandt.
In 1768 Maruyama Ôkyo was still ranked second on the Heian jimbutsu-shi, Record of Heian (= Kyoto) notable painters - behind the now little known Õnishi Suigetsu, teacher of Go Shun -, but after 1775 he was in the lead. Ôkyo received more commissions than any decorative painter since he days of Tan'yû. In 1784 Ôkyo started to add the name Minamoto to his signature, which suggests that the imperial court had awarded him an honorary membership, just as Tan'yû and Naonobu before him had been appointed members of the Fujiwara. Without any doubt Ôkyo was one of the most famous and important painters of the 18th century, founder of the Maruyama school and introducer of shaseiga, drawing from nature. The latter might not seem very special, but was in fact revolutionary, for it was without precedent.

"An artist who works only with old models and refuses to look with fresh eyes at the object itself is like a literary scholar who does nothing but copy from old books. It is necessary to re-examine the objects of nature and sketch them anew. Sketching is of the utmost importance and is more important than refinement of brush technique."
Under his guidance his students, who were many, developed a rather individual approach to their art, as technique more or less took second place. In comparison with other schools this was quite uncommon and it showed his importance as a teacher.
The Maruyama school together with the Shijô school, founded by Go Shun (1752-1811), determined the face of painting in the Kansai area throughout the 19th and the first half of the twentieth century.

Maruyama Ôkyo kenkyu, Tokyo 1997
A number of monographs and in any general book on Japanese painting
Nihon no bijutsu kaiga kinshû Vol. 22
Rosenfield B. 51

Price: EUR 20,000 / USD 23,600