Early 20th Century Japanese Screen Pair – Ink Pine Trees on Gold



Imao Keisho (1902-1993)

Pine Trees

Early 20th Century, Circa 1930

Pair of six-panel Japanese screens. Ink on silk and gold leaf.

Dimensions: Each screen H. 67.5” x 148” (172 cm x 376 cm)

Price: USD 35,000

A pair of monumental six-panel Japanese pine screens by the renowned Nihonga artist Imao Keisho. Here Keisho entirely removed the background and brought the pine trees to the surface of the painting. This simplification of the elements makes the scene exceptionally direct and compelling and injects a very modern feel into the screens, which are extraordinary for their technical virtuosity. The work is both majestic and delicate, with Keisho’s exquisite brushwork defining the complex and visually stunning scene. The bright gold of the screens and the rich black of the ink demonstrate a magnificent visual power. Keisho’s complete and meticulous control of the ink is made possible by the design of the folding screens themselves. The fronts are first laid with silk before gold leaf is layered on top, allowing artists a highly refined silk canvas with all the visual benefits of the gold leaf.

Imao Keisho (1902-1993) is the adopted son of and successor to Imao Keinen (1845-1924). A highly talented Nihonga artist, Keisho fully inherited Imao Keinen’s painting style, and his brush skills are widely recognized. Like his father Keinen, Keisho did not affiliate himself with any painting association and their exhibitions, instead focusing on a series of one-man shows. His large-scale works were exhibited at various temples and shrines in Kyoto, including Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji, and Honen-in. He was favored with many private commissions, including fusuma sliding door panels in major Kyoto temples. His most famous work being his tiger paintings on the sliding doors of Konkai Komyo-ji temple in Kyoto. Keisho also presented his works to the Imperial family on several occasions.