Kamisaka Sekka Paintings
Kamisaka Sekka’s (1866-1942) artistic style was a blend of tradition and modernity. Although he was trained in the Rinpa school of art, his extensive travels to the West exposed him to new art forms. This propelled him to bring a renaissance of sorts to Japan by reviving Rinpa art for a modern audience. Born to a Samurai family, Sekka was the last Rinpa master.
Momoyagusa (A World of Things), a series of woodblock prints is his best known work. Comprising three volumes, they were commissioned between 1909-1910.
A perfect union between the worlds of art, creativity, and talent – words that describe Kamisaka Sekka artworks faultlessly. Kamisaka Sekka can be described as the man who worked towards the seamless amalgamation of a traditional Japanese art form with western modern art. A major proponent of the Rinpa school of Japanese painting, Kamisaka Sekka is known for reviving the traditional style of Rinpa by fusing it with Western-style artworks and methods; he is also known as one of the leading artists from the Meiji period in Japan, when the country was going through major social, political, economic and cultural changes by opening their doors to the western world economy. Kamisaka Sekka artworks are known for their bright colors and images that appear as patterns rather than solid images. The typical Kamisaka Sekka style is known to have an unusual three-dimensional effect to it.
Born on 2nd January 1886, Kamisaka Sekka belonged to a Samurai family hailing from Kyoto, Japan. Sekka started his training in painting at the age of sixteen and with time became the expert in the traditional style of Rinpa. The Rinpa style of painting literally translates into ‘school of Korin’ ‒a word which is derived from the renowned painter Ogata Korin. This school of art is a traditional one that uses different mediums to showcase basic elements like flowers, plants, birds, etc. What really stands out in these paintings is the use of gold and silver leaf along with the modest application of expensive and lavish metallic and mineral pigments. A hint of poetry and literature, these motifs are equally reflected in Kamisaka Sekka most famous artworks. Kamisaka Sekka art gives you a taste of both traditional Japanese and modern painting. Sekka, while following the traditional Rinpa style, produced work that was not only on canvas but also on textiles, lacquerware, calligraphy, ceramics, etc.
Kamisaka Sekka art was a saving grace for the Rinpa school of art. With times, this traditional school of painting was losing its significance; around the same time, the Japanese government took upon itself to promote Japanese art and craft by providing patronage to artists who were masters in their respective fields and played an important role in practicing modern techniques while keeping the sanctity of the traditional paintings alive. In 1902, Kamisaka Sekka was sent to Glasgow by the Japanese government during the Meiji period. This trip proved to be pivotal for Sekka, as his learnings and fascination with the modern European industrial design led to the creation of the typical Kamisaka Sekka style. He tried to understand the different facets of the Western world and their fascination with Japonism. Japonism was the effect that Japanese art and culture had on the western world; the European world had discovered a newfound obsession for Japanese arts and these were not restricted to art but also clothing, culture, architecture, and even landscaping. Sekka was motivated to understand which specific aspects of Japanese art and culture were more fascinating to the west, in this way he could achieve his mission of keeping classical Japanese art alive. This took place during the Meiji period which was spread between 1869-1912 when the once feudal society of Japan opened its door to the charms of the western world in order to promote its economy which had a substantial effect on its social and cultural atmosphere too. During this period, the Japanese government was particularly interested in exporting pieces of artwork to the West and this was the time when Kamisaka Sekka paintings shined through.
Post-1901, Sekka was influenced by Art Nouveau, an international style of art and architecture; otherwise known by many names throughout different cultures. He created artworks that were timeless, modern, imaginative, and creative. With the help of other artisans, the Kamisaka Sekka style was plastered on textiles, ceramics, and lacquers. Kamisaka Sekka artworks were further promoted and passed onto the future generation of Japanese artists with Sekka’s hard work. After his endeavor with the modern world, he came back and started teaching at the Kyoto Municipal School of Arts and Crafts, where he made efforts to incorporate the Art Nouveau style in multiple mediums along with the traditional Japanese artworks.
By the 19th century, the Rinpa school of art was no longer overlooked and unappreciated; for the Japanese people, it had become their identity, all thanks to the efforts of Kamisaka Sekka paintings and the man behind it. With the efforts of various other artists, the Rinpa school of art was rigidly established in the history of Japan and became a global trend. Today, the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture in Hanford, California holds a collection of Kamisaka Sekka artworks ‒ more than 160 woodblock prints that have been ingeniously done by Kamisaka Sekka. Kamisaka Sekka most famous artworks have been published in the form of massive collections; his best-known works are A World of Things (Momoyagusa), One Thousand Kind of Butterflies (Cho senshu), and A Thousand Grasses (Chigusa). These Kamisaka Sekka artworks are made in the form of woodcut prints and represent the true essence of Rinpa and modern artworks.
Our collection of Kamisaka Sekka works is all things Momoyagusa; out of the many prints from the collection, we have handpicked the best. A collection that is simple yet a modern representation of dainty things. Birds, flowers, sun, snow, animals, and scenes from the daily lives of people from Japan have been exquisitely represented in these Kamisaka Sekka paintings. With bold and plain colors, not only these paintings have a simplicity to them but also a three-dimensional quality as well. From our collection of Kamisaka Sekka’s Momoyagusa, we have paintings like the Fishing Village Kamisaka Sekka Painting, Waves and Sun Kamisaka Sekka Painting, Wagon Kamisaka Sekka Painting, Snow Kamisaka Sekka Painting, Samurai Kamisaka Sekka Painting, Samurai from Momoyogusa, Rokkasen Kamisaka Sekka Painting, Path Through the Fields Kamisaka Sekka Painting, Ocean Waves Kamisaka Sekka Painting, Fan Kamisaka Sekka Painting, Deer Kamisaka Sekka Painting, Cranes Kamisaka Sekka Painting and Blossoms from Maomoyogusa-Flowers of a Hundred Generation Kamisaka Sekka Painting.