Shikishi with tiger lily
Pigments on paper on golden ground
With artist’s signature and seal
21 x 18 cm
In this painting the lily entirely covers the small rectangular space forming a balanced and harmonious composition despite the almost total absence of empty spaces. A virtually identical work, but with the flower in a different position, is preserved at the Hosomi Museum in Kyoto.
Sekka excelled in the small size works in which the different subjects are represented in full size.
Painter and designer, Kamisaka Sekka has been one of the most important Japanese artists who brought the traditional aesthetic in the western world. Sekka came from a samurai family - his father was in service at the imperial palace in Kyoto - and studied art during a very delicate period of Japanese history: the transition between the old feudal system of the Edo period to the modern capitalistic one of the Meiji restoration. It has been a traumatic era for all Japanese people and it had relevant effects on artists and their works. In fact, they had to choose between “old” and “new”, between “traditional” and “international”. Sekka chooses the road of national traditions and committed himself in all the fields he could. Under the guide of his teacher Kishi Kokei, he decided to follow the art of the Rinpa School, using plain and simple designs: toward the end of 16th century, a group of artists and craftsmen with exceptional skills founded an artistic language based on stylisation in order to reach an absolute and elegant simplicity. Sekka chose this way: he does not consider the new techniques coming from Europe and commit himself to traditional Japanese arts and crafts. The use of space is superb: compositions are often asymmetric but always balanced, with original perspectives and innovative views. The simplicity of his compositions and his geometric shapes allow certainly to consider Sekka as one of the pioneers of contemporary design.