Delicate Divide: The Art of the Japanese Screen

March 21, 2001 to April 21, 2001

Japanese Painted Screen

To add splendor to grandeur, Scholten Japanese Art is amidst planning their spring exhibition entitled, Delicate Divide: The Art of the Japanese Screen. The Japanese works of art gallery aims to continue with the momentum generated from their inaugural exhibition in September of 2000. Strategically located around the corner from the Park Avenue armory-- the location of the high-profile International Asian Art Fair, Scholten is well situated to take advantage of the large number of Asian art enthusiasts drawn to New York for the March Asia Week schedule of events. The Scholten exhibition, Delicate Divide: The Art of the Japanese Screen, opens March 21, 2001, in conjunction with Asia Week, and continues until April 21, 2001.

The exhibition is focused on the Japanese folding screen, or byobu, defined as an "enclosure" or a "protection against" (byo) the wind (bu). A flexible technique for dividing space, screens were folded, moved, and stored as needed. As Japanese architecture often utilized one space for many purposes, the exquisitely painted Japanese screen played an integral role in defining the ever-changing interior spaces. In addition, the castles or compounds of the warlords (daimyo) were constructed for practical purposes at the expense of exposure to natural light. As such, the reflective gold often used on screens helped to illuminate the dim inner chambers of the fortifications. The basic functionality of the screen not only enabled its owner to create a highly decorative space but also allowed for expression of personal taste and style.

A diverse group of accomplished painting schools produced screens, enriching the interiors of castles, temples and private quarters with distinctive styles and sometimes opulent colors. The screens included in the Scholten exhibition reflect a variety of popular painting genres and subjects. For example, an 18th century eight-panel screen illustrating a continuous view of Birds and Flowers of the Four Seasons (from summer to winter, from right to left) incorporates a classic subject long associated with the Kano School (the painters of the samurai and daimyo class), with more decorative elements of the Tosa School (the painters of the courts) and Rinpa Schools. Screens of this type are often referred to as machi-eshi, literally, town pictures, in reference to their amalgamated painting styles.

A six-panel screen dating to the 17th century illustrates a more serene view of Cedar and Maple in an Autumn Landscape. With gold utilized in the composition, this screen placed within an interior chamber may have reflected what little light was available, such as candlelight, while providing a suggestion of protection and privacy.

Scholten Japanese Art is open Tuesday through Saturday 11am to 5pm, by appointment. To schedule an appointment please call 212.585.0474.

Photographs are available


Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only

Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm preferably for no more than two individuals at a time.
Visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing at their discretion.

site last updated
September 22, 2022

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475