Exceptional Japanese Six-Panel Folding Screen
Edo period, 18th century, Rinpa school, ink and gouache on gold leaf ground, having thirty-five applied open and folded or partially folded fans depicting a range of subjects from Japanese history and cultural traditions, including scenes from the Genji Monogatari, floral sprays and landscapes, cats, monkeys, birds and dragons, all within silk mounts.
h. 70", w. 148"
Provenance: Estate of Elaine Levy Proler, Houston, Texas; Purchased from Ariane Dandois, Ariane Faye et Cie, Paris, France, November 6, 1983.
Notes: As one of the foremost historical schools of Japanese painting, Rinpa school works are recognizable and sought after for their brilliant detail masked by a veil of simplicity. Founded in the 17th century by masters Hon'ami Koetsu and Tawaraya Sotatsu, and consolidated by the brothers Ogata Korin and Ogata Kenzan, the school was previously known as Sotatsu-Korin, before the term Rinpa was introduced in later years.
Typically identifiable by their bold, stylized interpretations of nature against distinctive gold and metallic grounds, Rinpa school works often embody the portrayal of traditional subjects, created with a range of innovative techniques.
The exquisite example offered here encapsulates the extraordinary skill and decorative range of the era, incorporating intricately cut and applied paper fans with an ambitious design harking back to the Momoyama period, with scenes from "Genji Monogatari", as well as depictions of auspicious animals layered amid landscapes and floral sprays, all carefully applied to a gold-leaf ground. It is this striking river of gold which catches the eye, allowing the screen as a whole to create a portal of warmth and depth, before drawing the viewer in to focus on a subject delicately depicted in one of the open or partially open fans, deliberately placed throughout the composition to create a subtle diagonal division.
Structurally stable and in overall good condition. Screen is solid and retains excellent clarity of color. Most pigment is intact. There is a repaired tear that runs the vertical length of the first panel and a probable patch repair that bisects the cranes on the fan at the bottom left. All panels exhibit some tears and/or creases. Many of the repairs are difficult to assess because both creases and tears have been stabilized with an adhesive gold filler. All panels exhibit some small losses/flaking to pigment and overpainting/gilding. There is some light soiling scattered throughout, mostly to the bottoms and to screen edges with some potential light foxing to the bottom of the third panel. Backs of the panels are in overall good condition-the two outside panels have some fading and abrading, and tearing to the upper right and bottom of the last panel. Condition is commensurate with age, material and use. Additional photographs are recommended.