Kakunen Tsuruoka, 1892-1977
sailing junk in morning mist
ink and color on paper; signed Kakunen with artist's rectangular seal Kakunen, and oval Tsuruoka family seal on verso, n.d., ca. 1930s
20 7/8 by 9 3/4 in., 52.9 by 24.8 cm
While nostolgic images of sailing junks are hardly unique to any Japanese artist (or Western artist who visited Japan), this misty view of the subject is evocative of the 1926 Sailing Boats prints issued in six variations capturing different times of the day by Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950). Kakunen depicts little more than the silhouette of the boat through what seems to be morning fog, but like Yoshida, he takes care to include the subtle detail of how the light passes differently through the rectangular repaired patches on the sail.
Although Kakunen never dated his paintings of Japanese subjects, the style of his signature on this watercolor (when compared to his dated woodblock prints) suggests that was likely produced in the 1930s, when appreciation of shin-hanga prints was arguably at an apex thanks to the efforts of publishers such as Watanabe Shozaburo (1885-1962) and artists such as Yoshida who organized exhibitions that traveled throughout the United States. While Kakunen's earlier paintings seem to imply his alignment with Rinpa artists, his later works (before the war) seem to display more influence from the shin-hanga esthetic.
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site last updated
October 21, 2021
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
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