Suzuki Kiitsu and Japanese art: Contemporary homage

Suzuki Kiitsu and Japanese art: Contemporary homage

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The contemporary Japanese artist Sawako Utsumi adores many aspects of art. This notably concerns European and Japanese art. In this art piece, the focus is on the adorable art of Suzuki Kiitsu (1796-1858) and the homage by Utsumi.

Kiitsu belongs to the world of rinpa (rimpa) art. However, his innovative style pushed the boundaries – similar to Kamisaka Sekka (1866-1942).

Bonhams says, “The son of a dyer, Kiitsu was born in Omi Province and moved to Edo. He was the leading disciple of Sakai Hoitsu (1761-1829) and married the elder sister of a fellow student of Hoitsu’s, Suzuki Reitan (1782-1817), becoming head of the Suzuki family when Reitan died. After assisting in many of Hoitsu’s later works, Kiitsu went on to develop his own version of the Edo-Rinpa style and played an important part in ensuring its transmission down to modern times.”

In the art piece above, Utsumi pays a delightful homage to Kiitsu. The contemporary Japanese artist Utsumi hails from northern Japan. Her artwork is often inspired by past European and Japanese artists, despite several independent landscapes. Henceforth, in this delightful landscape, you can depict the partial influence of Suzuki Kiitsu. However, Utsumi only utilizes a singular angle of Kiitsu. This concerns the backdrop of the river. Therefore, the “Stunning Bleak Midwinter art of Northern Japan” is a fusion of ideas that links the passages of time – and is a delightful aspect of Utsumi’s art.

Kiitsu and Utsumi come from different periods of Japanese history. However, the lure of art and culture binds both individuals. Today, the art of Kiitsu is admired deeply in his native Japan – and further afield for lovers of international art.

The MET Museum says, “The Rinpa School’s popularity was revived in the early nineteenth century, largely due to the work of the painter Sakai Hōitsu (1761–1828), who succeeded in establishing the Rinpa School in Edo. A member of a samurai family who had patronized Kōrin, Hōitsu intensively studied Kōrin’s artworks. However, he shifted the themes on which he focused, concentrating on natural images, especially representations of the four seasons, rather than scenes from classical literature. He also brought a greater attention to detail in his painting style. Hōitsu’s chief student Suzuki Kiitsu (1796–1858) introduced a greater sense of naturalism to his representations of flowers and plants. The Rinpa style continued to influence artists working in a variety of media throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. However, the style associated with Rinpa changed as other movements, such as ukiyo-e and Nihonga, were blended with it, altering and diluting the Rinpa style and its devotion to classical themes and characteristics.”

Overall, the original art of Kiitsu inspires Utsumi (art piece above) because of his enormous creativity. Hence, while Utsumi only takes a snippet of Kiitsu’s influence in her art, it is done sublimely – that incorporates her unique individualism. – Sawako Utsumi and where you can buy her art, postcards, bags, and other products. Also, individuals can contact her for individual requests. 

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