USC Pacific Asia Museum
Frank and Toshie Mosher Gallery of Japanese Art
The View from a Scholar’s Studio: Japanese Literati Paintings from Tiezudingzhai Collection
Third Rotation: Jan. 27 – June 26
Literati culture — the ideal of the scholar-gentleman — provides a thread connecting East Asia. Developed in China by the 11th century as a kind of “alternative” way of life and expression, it is often visualized in paintings of idealized landscapes and in bird-and-flower subjects that symbolize ideal character traits of the scholar-gentlemen.
The View from a Scholar’s Studio illustrates how Japanese literati willfully adapted this Chinese culture over two hundred years with a select examples from the private Tiezudingzhai Collection, complemented by works from the USC PAM collection in three complete rotations.
Ikegami Shuho (1874 -1944): Landscape after Shen Zhou’s (1427 – 1509) “Clearing after Snow over Rivers and Mountains,” (Detail). 1925. Handscroll: Ink on paper. Anonymous Loan
Shuho’s training was broad and his output both prolific and diverse. He is best known for dazzling paintings of birds and flowers, but he also brushed landscapes as well as portraits of beauties and actors. Literati painting was another creative endeavor, and one that took Shuho frequently to China.
In his adjacent painting, Shuho shows how Chinese tradition could spur creative transformation. Here, by contrast, he copies a work by one China’s great literati masters – a standard way of paying homage and of learning.
Shuho replicates a winter landscape by Shen Zhou (1427 – 1509), the Ming literati master known for his elegantly simple style. Shuho also copies Shen Zhou’s inscription. The businessman and scholar Wang Yiting (1867 – 1938) added a second colophon. Last is Shuho’s own long inscription.
It reveals that in June 1925, his friend Shiraishi Rokusaburo, who managed the Rokusan’en restaurant in Shanghai, was prevented from climbing the famous Mt. Lu, and he arranged to have the great painter Wu Changshuo (1844 – 1927) meet Shuho there and show him many painting and calligraphy scrolls. Moved by Shen Zhou’s winter landscape, Shuho spent three days copying it.
USC Pacific Art Museum is located at 46 North Los Robles Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101. (626) 449-2742. Closed Monday and Tuesday.