Tosa Mitsuoki (Japanese, 1617-1691). Flowering Cherry and Autumn Maple with Poem Slips, 1654/81. Pair of six-panel screens; ink, color, gold and silver on silk; each 144 cm x 286 cm. Kate S. Buckingham Endowment.
Kano Koi (Japanese, c. 1569-1636). Pheasant and Pine, c. 1626. Six-panel screen; ink, colors, and gold on paper; 170.2 x 380 cm. Saint Louis Art Museum, Funds given by Mary and Oliver Langenberg, Mr. and Mrs. Richard A. Liddy, and Susan and David Mesker (105.2002).
Artist Unknown (Japanese). Maize and Cockscombs, mid 17th century. Six-panel screen; ink, color, and gold on paper; 170.2 cm x 357 cm (67 in x 141.7 in.). Kate S. Buckingham Endowment.
Sakai Hoitsu (Japanese, 1761-1828). Fans and Stream, 1820/28. Pair of two-panel screens; ink, colors, gold, and silver on silk; each 166.9 x 174.6 cm. Saint Louis Art Museum, Friends Fund (140:1987.a-b).
Ikeda Keisen (Japanese, 1863-1932). Fish and Plants, 1908. Single six-panel screen; ink, color, and gold on silk; 137 x 287 cm. President’s Exhibition and Acquisition Fund; Alsdorf Discretionary Fund; Russell Tyson Endowment Fund; Purchased with Funds Provided by the Wetson Foundation.
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Beyond Golden Clouds:
from the Art Institute
of Chicago and
the Saint Louis Art Museum
June 26-September 27, 2009
Across the decorative surfaces of Japanese folding screens, the realities and imaginations of artists over hundreds of years have been charted with bright mineral pigments and precious gold and silver. More so than smaller painting formats, the screen is the canvas upon which artists have historically realized their most expansive visions, which is why they are so often career-defining masterpieces.
However varied the subjects portrayed and the painting styles adopted, there are unfortunately very few opportunities today to see large numbers of screens displayed together at once, and museum visitors must satisfy themselves with only one or two examples at a time. Beyond Golden Clouds brings the scope of the significant permanent collections of Japanese screens at the Art Institute and the Saint Louis Art Museum to the public eye. The exhibition, which will be shown at both museums, will include a total of 32 works of art. During the week of August 10-14, several works in the exhibition will be rotated out and replaced by others, offering the chance to experience the exhibition anew.
Beyond Golden Clouds celebrates the full range of the screen format, made possible by the collaboration of these two Midwestern museums. Unique among shows of Japanese screens in the past, this exhibition displays a range of works, dating from as early as the 16th century to the contemporary screens of the past decade. Screens of various media are featured, including traditional examples on paper and silk as well as screens made of stoneware (ceramic clay) and one that appears to be done in lacquer. The particular role of screens as functional works Kishi Ganku. Bamboo, 1829. Russell Tyson Purchase Fund income. of art, their characteristic materials and painting techniques, their development in Japan and collection in the West, and their influence on the art of other cultures are explored.
Highlights of the exhibition include a pair of screens depicting a bustling ink landscape by the 16th-century artist Sesson Shukei, the earliest work in the show. Willow Bridge and Waterwheel by Hasegawa Soya is a tour de force of the art of the folding screen produced during the format’s heyday in the 17th century. Kishi Ganku’s Bamboo of 1829 was likely set up around the perimeter of a room so that would-be literati would feel as if they were dwelling in an idyllic bamboo grove. Morita Shiryu’s 1969 screen Dragon Knows Dragon makes use of nontraditional materials; it is a calligraphic work wherein the characters appear in gold on a black surface that shines with the finish of lacquer.
A beautiful catalogue accompanies the exhibition and is available in the Museum Shop. Featuring 130 color illustrations, the volume presents illuminating and engaging entries on each work of art along with essays by exhibition curator Janice Katz and other respected scholars.