Japanese painting from the Hosomi collection
Layered colours, the use of ink, gold backgrounds, abstract forms and stylized representations of themes from classical Japanese literature, nature and the seasons – this is Rimpa, one of the most important styles of Japanese art. »Rimpa feat. Manga« presents selected masterpieces from the Hosomi Museum in Kyōto, and shows the development of this unique style from the 17th to the early 20th century. It also introduces the works of the eccentric Itō Jakuchū (1716–1800), known above all for his lively depictions of animals, in particular birds. In a novel approach to the work of the Rimpa artists and Jakuchū, their paintings are also shown featuring icons of Japanese pop culture, combining the traditional with the modern.
The Kyōto artist Tawaraya Sōtatsu (active in the 1st half of the 17th century) and the calligrapher Hon’ami Kōetsu (1558–1637) were the founders of the Rimpa style (also Rinpa), whose best-known representative was probably Ogata Kōrin (1658–1716). In the late Edo period, Sakai Hōitsu (1761–1828) and the artists working with him in Edo, including his most important pupil, Suzuki Kiitsu (1796–1858), initiated a revival of the Rimpa tradition, which continued into the Modern Age. Kamisaka Sekka (1866–1942), who came into contact with the European Art Nouveau movement, was a well-known representative of modern Rimpa.
The idea of painting the well-known figures of the Japanese »God of Manga«, Tezuka Osamu (1928–1989), or the virtual singer Hatsune Miku in combination with classical Rimpa and Jakuchū pictures originated in the Toyowadō kimono atelier in Kyōto. In one creation Tezuka’s shimmering golden phoenix rises over the Bay of Matsushima, a picture on a large screen painted by Ogata Kōrin; in another the likeable superhero Astro Boy stands under a kudzu vine in moonlight painted by Suzuki Kiitsu. The aim, however, is always the same: to draw attention to the surroundings of the famous manga characters – the splendid works of the Rimpa artists and Itō Jakuchū, and Japanese aesthetics behind them.
The Hosomi Museum was founded in 1998 and is home of the Hosomi family collection. These was established by Kokōan Hosomi (1901–1979) and continuously expanded by his son, Minoru Hosomi (1922–2006), and his wife Ariko. Yoshiyuki Hosomi, director of the Hosomi Museum, who serves as the curator of the exhibition is the third generation of his family to head the historically and artisticly wide-ranging collection. The collection contains over 1000 works of Japanese art, including many that are registered as Important Cultural Properties.