Japan art and Watanabe Seitei: Birds and frogs

The Japanese artist Watanabe Seitei: Birds and frogs

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Watanabe Seitei (Shōtei) was born in 1851 during the Edo Period and died in the Taisho Period in 1918. He was one of the first nihonga artists in the Meiji Period to visit Europe. Therefore, Seitei paved the path for future Japanese artists.

The British Museum says, “One of the first Nihonga artists to go to Europe. He traveled to France in 1878 for the International Exhibition, where he was awarded a bronze medal. He combined the realistic elements he found in Western art with the light colors and wash effects of the Maruyama-Shijo school, thereby creating a new kind of kacho-ga (bird-and-flower painting).”

The artist Kikuchi Yōsai (1788-1878) was his early artistic mentor. He also studied briefly under Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891). Therefore, it is easy to understand Seitei’s delightful approach to art – and the skills he obtained.

Seitei also influenced many Japanese artists. For example, Koson Ohara and Kiyokata Kaburagi. Hence, the knowledge and ideas of yesteryear (Kikuchi Yōsai and Shibata Zeshin) became part of the next generation.

The Nezu Museum says, “Watanabe Seitei was a Japanese-style painter who associated with the Impressionist painters in Paris. He was particularly skilled in stylish yet witty compositions grounded in superb sketching technique.”

In the second art piece, you have three stunning egrets. They all look relaxed together during the night period. Once more, the art by Seitei is sublime.

Overall, extremely stunning art by Seitei and a real treasure! Hence, Seitei continues to be held in high regard in modern Japan – concerning the lovers of art.

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