Height: 1180.000 mm
Width: 504.000 mm
Gift of Sir W. Gwynne-Evans, Bt.
Asia JP 2295 (1913.5-1.0602)
Watanabe Shōtei, Swallows on a Willow, a hanging scroll painting
Meiji era, late 19th-early 20th century AD
A Japanese artist who had travelled to the West
Watanabe Shōtei (1851-1918) was one of the
This work is done mainly in ink, with some use of light colours to depict the four birds and willow leaves,a not entirely characteristic style for Shōtei. However, the abbreviated brushwork and atmospheric description are more typical. The mass of the tree is effectively conveyed using the minimum number of strokes together with moist dark accents.
It was very difficult for Japanese artists to make a journey abroad in the early Meiji era (1868-1912), and it is not known how Shōtei managed to accomplish this. He had done designs for an export company back in 1875, and this connection may have provided him with the opportunity. His works proved popular in the West, and quite a number of works are preserved in both European and American collections.
Both the signature and seal read ‘Shōtei'.
I. Hirayama and T. Kobayashi (eds.), Hizō Nihon bijutsu taikan-2, vol. 3 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1993)