Angry Crow Perched on a Plum Branch with a Singng Sparrow Below
ink on paper hanging scroll; signed Joku Kyosai zu with artist's square red seal Bankoku tobu ('flying in, or to, many lands') between the silhouette of two crows (suggestive of Kyosai's international fame as a painter of crows), 1880s
painting: 36 3/4 by 12 in., 93.3 by 31.7 cm
overall: 70 1/8 by 17 3/8 in., 178 by 44.2 cm
Recently remounted with brocade c/o The British Museum with futomaki roller and unsigned storage box.
Israel Goldman, London
New York Collector
This painting recalls a famous Kyosai painting with the descriptive title, Winter Crow on a Withered Branch which was exhibited at the 1881 Second National Industrial Exhibition where it earned the highest possible award. The painting's notoriety came not from the painting itself, nor the award, but from the artist's audacity of putting an exhorbitant price tag on the work to the tune of 100 yen. When an official questioned the price, Kyosai replied: 'it's not the price of the crow but the price of many decades of hardship and effort I have gone through to finally learn to paint like this. This is an exhibition from all over the nation and it doesn't matter whether there is anyone to buy it or not - I just put on it the price I thought fit'. The painting was purchased for the asking price by Hosoda Yasubei (Eitaro), a wealthy confectioner from Nihombashi, and has been kept in the Eitaro Confectionary Collection.
Timothy Clark, Demon of Painting: The Art of Kawanabe Kyosai, British Museum, 1993, pp. 147-148, no. 100 (Eitaro Collection painting)
Kyoto National Museum, Bridge to Modernity: Kyosai's Adventures in Painting, 2008, pp. 154-155, no. 63 (Eitaro Collection painting), no. 64 (similar composition)
Kyosai: Master Painter and His Student Josiah Conder, Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo, 2015, p.36, no. 005-007 (Winter Crow on Withered Branch along with 1881 award and citation)
This is Kyosai!: The Israel Goldman Collection, 2017, pp. 51-66, Chapter 1: Crows "Flying Over Many Lands"
(inv. no. C-3107)
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