The late Edo period painter Yokoyama Kazan (1781/4–1837) was active in Kyoto. Kazan remained unaffiliated and unswayed by painting world trends throughout his career, choosing instead to create his own free painting style and brushwork methods drawn from various traditions and styles. This approach won favor with the audiences of the day.
The Yokoyama family interacted with Soga Shōhaku. Kazan’s early opportunities to directly experience Shōhaku’s works led to his own personal study of Shōhaku’s paintings.
more After studying under Ganku, he broadened his experience by studying the works of Goshun and adopting painting methods from various schools. These diverse experiences allowed him to freely choose brushwork styles that suited each occasion’s painting theme. Arranging even the most traditional of subjects in boldly new compositions, his brushwork’s modern, at times Western style could even be mistaken for Meiji or later works. Kazan reached his pinnacle achievement in his genre scenes and images of festivals, particularly thanks to their eyecatchingly accurate and detailed depiction of their subjects.
Kazan’s works greatly influenced other Edo period painters and he was known throughout Japan during his lifetime. After his death his son Yokoyama Kakei and his students Nakajima Kayō and Ozawa Kagaku carried on his painting style, establishing an independent position as the Yokoyama school within the Kyoto painting world. Kazan’s name appears in comparative listings of painters and in the novels of Natsume Sōseki, indicating how well known he was in the Meiji to Taishō periods. His talents were early recognized by researchers and collectors overseas, with many of his works today found in museums in America and Europe.
This exhibition is the first full retrospective of Kazan’s works, presenting examples from his earliest period to his final years and examining the diversity of his oeuvre in painting genre groupings. This display will spotlight all aspects of Kazan’s fascinating world, which despite his earlier fame is less known today. Along with its concurrent presentation of works by Soga Shōhaku and Kazan’s own students, the exhibition will also feature works from overseas collections, many making their debut appearance in a Japanese exhibition.