NEZU MUSEUM

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Now on View
Special Exhibition Commemorating the 300th Anniversary of Ogata Kōrin’s Death
Irises and Red and White Plum Blossoms:The Secret of Kōrin’s Design
April 18th, Saturday - May 17th, Sunday, 2015
ido
Closed Mondays except May 4th
Hours 10 am to 5 pm
(entrance closed at 4:30 pm)
[5/12~5/17]10 am to 7 pm
(entrance closed at 6:30 pm)
General admission Adult 1200 yen, Student 1000 yen
Gallery 1/2/5
 In commemoration of the 300th anniversary of the death of Ogata Kōrin, who died in 1716 at the age of 59, the Nezu Museum is presenting a special exhibition in which, for the first time in 56 years, two screens by Kōrin, Irises and Red and White Plum Blossoms, will be displayed together.
 Kōrin was born into a family of elite clothing merchants. He became engaged in early Edo period decorative arts through his appreciation of artists such as Hon’ami Kōetsu and Tawaraya Sōtatsu, incorporated a new sensibility into that aesthetic, and created his own painterly world.
 In Irises, the artist uses only shades of green and blue on an overall gold ground, in a simple, clear-cut composition with striking depictions of clumps of irises. His Red and White Plum Blossoms embodies Kōrin’s superb design sense in which red and white plum blossoms face each other across a darkly glistening stream. The exhibition offers an unparalleled opportunity to experience these and other works filled with Kōrin’s elegant design sensibility.

Gallery Exhibits

National Treasure
Irises
By Ogata Kōrin
Japan Edo period, 18th century
Nezu Museum
Using only green and blue on an overall gold ground, Kōrin rhythmically arranges the stylized clumps of irises in compositions that differ on the left- and right-hand screens. This work is based on the Yatsuhashi (eight-plank bridge) in Mikawa Province (now Aichi Prefecture), a site famous for its irises that is celebrated in The Tales of Ise. These screens, created when Kōrin was in his mid forties, are considered the first artistic pinnacle of his career.
National Treasure
Red and White Plum Blossoms
By Ogata Kōrin
Japan Edo period, 18th century
MOA Museum of Art
A red plum tree, a breath of youth, and a white plum tree, suggesting the wisdom of maturity: between them flows a darkly glistening stream bisecting the picture plane vertically. These screens, a masterpiece from Kōrin’s late period, present a design rich in tension generated by contrasting elements: motion and stillness, dark and light, realistic and stylized depiction.
Important Cultural Property
Peacocks and Hollyhocks
By Ogata Kōrin
Japan Edo period, 18th century
Private Collection
This pair of screens originally formed the front back of a partitioning screen. In the trunk of the white plum tree, which seems to outline the peacock, his tail feathers arched into a magnificent fan, and its long, curving branches we can read the creativity that also resulted in Kōrin’s Red and White Plum Blossoms screens.【Exhibited only 5/4〜5/17】
Important Cultural Property
Ivy-bound Lane
Attributed to Tawaraya Sōtatsu, with inscriptions by Karasumaru Mitsuhiro
Japan Edo period, 17th century
Shōkokuji
These screens, based on a scene from The Tales of Ise, create an innovative picture plane revealing a rich sense of design. Its restricted set of motifs and colors is a quality it shares with Kōrin’s Irises. Sōtatsu was an important precursor in Rinpa-school art.
Tray with Flowing Water Design
By Ogata Kōrin
Japan Edo period, 18th century
Private Collection
Kōrin used blue and gold to create a design of flowing water, wavering on the water’s surface, within a shallow box. Flowing water was a key motif for Kōrin, who also used it in Red and White Plum Blossoms.
Square Dish with Plum Design
By Ogata Kenzan, with painting by Ogata Kōrin
Japan Edo period, 18th century
Nezu Museum
Kōrin created this work in collaboration with his brother, the potter Kenzan. Kōrin painted the plum tree in the center of the square dish, its trunk projecting beyond the frame. The composition, with the branches shown from above, is the same as in Red and White Plum Blossoms.

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