Japan Art and Uehara Konen: Tokyo Artist and Landscapes

Japan Art and Uehara Konen: Tokyo Artist and Landscapes

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Uehara Konen was born in the 1870s during the Meiji Restoration (1868-1912). He was born in Tokyo and died during the war period in 1940.

Konen produced early prints in the mōrō-tai (modernist style) that were in demand during the late Meiji period. Similar to other Japanese artists in this period, he was inspired by the growing influence of Western art and angles of photography.

The British Museum says, “Konen was born in Tokyo, and studied first under Kajita Hanko (1870-1917) and then with Matsumoto Fuko (1840-1923). He spent most of his painting career on landscapes, showing at official exhibitions and receiving prizes and awards regularly. He was influenced by the moist brushwork of Imamura Shiko (1880-1916). According to Watanabe (Watanabe, 1936), he worked as an official in the Imperial Household and the Foreign Ministry, and at one time was associated with Okakura Tenshin (1862-1913). Only a handful of woodblock prints by him are known, a few published before the Kanto earthquake by Kobayashi Bunshichi, the remainder after it by Watanabe. All are landscape or townscape subjects.”

He was influenced by Matsumoto Fuko (1840-1923) and Kajita Hanko (1870-1917) during his early artistic life.

Many of his prints were destroyed during the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. However, what few survived highlight the abundant skills he was blessed with.

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