19th Century Japanese Deer Screen by Okamoto Toyohiko. Maruyama Shijo School.



Okamoto Toyohiko (1773-1845)

Deer in Spring

A Six-panel Japanese Screen. Ink, color, gofun and gold leaf on paper.

Dimensions: H. 170 cm x W. 376 cm (67” x 148”)

Price: USD 28,000

A six-panel Japanese folding screen from the leading Maruyama-Shijo artist Okamoto Toyohiko (1773-1845). Simply featuring three deer and a few sprigs of foliage on a sumptuous gold-leaf background this work emphasizes naturalistic expression and a masterful use of negative space. Reduced to its most basic elements, the blank spaces inspire imagination and evoke the smells, sounds and even the weather of the scene. Whilst deer are traditionally depicted in association with autumn, here the green growth on the tops of the foliage indicates the season of spring. The work references Maruyama Okyo’s two-panel deer screen in the Kyoto National Museum, and is similarly painted in color on gold-leaf. Although famed as a painter of landscapes, Toyohiko seemed particularly fond of and talented at painting naturalistic deer on a large scale. Among the more famous works by him depicting deer are a two-panel screen held at the Mitsui Memorial Museum and a two-fold screen at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston in which Toyohiko depicts a deer and Keibun depicts a pine tree.

Okamoto Toyohiko (1773-1845) was the best pupil of Goshun and through him learned the emotional literary and landscape styles of painting. Toyohiko inherited the naturalist sketching style from Maruyama Okyo. He collaborated with the most senior painting masters of his time and was friendly with the Arisugawa family. Perhaps due to this association he received painting orders from the Imperial court and some of his works remain at the Shugakuin Imperial Villa. After Maruyama Okyo and Goshun founded the Kyoto based Maruyama-Shijo school, Matsumura Keibun and Okamoto Toyohiko successfully continued and secured the lineage. After Goshun’s death they opened their own art school and trained many disciples, among them Shibata Zeshin, Shiokawa Bunrin and Tanaka Nikka.

Works by Okamoto Toyohiko are held in the Kyoto National Museum, British Museum, LACMA, Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art, Osaka City Museum of Art, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Mitsui Memorial Museum and Shugakuin Imperial Villa.