Cho Gessho (1772-1832)
Birds on a Pine
hanging scroll; ink and color on silk, signed Gessho with artist's seals Gessho and Yukisada, ca. early 19th century
painting: 44 1/4 by 16 in., 112.5 by 40.5 cm
overall: 76 by 20 7/8 in; 193 by 53 cm
Cho Gessho was born Cho Yukisada in Omi Province as the son of a calligrapher and mounter of scroll paintings at Hikone Castle. He studied nanga (lit. 'Southern painting') literati paintng in Kyoto under Matsumura Goshun (1752-1811) who gave him the name Gessho. Goshun was a student of Yosa Buson (1716-1784), a nanga master, who also studied with Maruyama Okyo (1733-195), and together they founded the Maruyama school of painting which focused on heightened naturalism. Gessho is associated with the Maruyama-Shijo school (some of its major artists were located on Shijo [4th avenue] in Kyoto) which merged elements of the Maruyama style with nanga and Chinese painting styles. In 1798 Gessho moved to Nagoya where he studied under the Nanga master Yamada Kyojo (1747-1793) and worked briefly as an assistant to Nagasawa Rosetsu (1754-1799). He was well-known in his time, specializing in figures and kacho-ga subjects. He was involved with poetry anthologies and published illustrated books including Zoku Koya Bunko in 1798, Fukei Gaso in 1817, and Shin Koya Bunko in 1818. He became an appointed painter for the Tokugawa family at Owari (Nagoya) and worked on fusuma paintings in Nagoya Castle.
Laurance P. Roberts, A Dictionary of Japanese Artists, 1976, p. 32
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site last updated
June 21, 2021
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