This six-fold screen, a half of a pair, is meant to represent six of the twelve months of the year, with keen attention paid to the birds and flowers associated with each. Although this screen bears Kano Tan’yu’s signature, it was probably created by his studio or by followers working in this famous artist’s style.
Depictions of the seasons have a prominent place in the tradition of the Kano School (the official school of painting of the Tokugawa shogunate) and Japanese art. But painters were not alone in their masterful use of seasonal references—poetry also drew heavily on such motifs and exchange often took place between these genres, with poems inspiring painted scenes and paintings finding representation in poetic verse. The following late Heian (794–1185) and early Kamakura (1185–1333) period poems would have been part of the artistic dialogue that informs the motifs on these screens:
Spring is the cherry blossom
Summer is the cuckoo
Autumn is the moon
And in winter,
the shimmering snow is fresh to the eye.
Eihei Do-gen (1200–1253)
In the evening, the biting autumn wind blows through the field
Landscape with trees in foreground, valley in middle ground dotted with minute figures of sheep and a farmer with a team of oxen pulling well-filled haywain. Mountains in distance with a snow-capped mountain in center background.
“White Mountains” was a popular subject amongst 19th century Americans, who, stirred by the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, wanted patriotic emblems of an optimistic and expanding nation. Using the popular tenets of the sublime and the picturesque, Hodgdon juxtaposes an awe-inspiring snow-capped mountain in the distance with a lush valley just beginning to show evidence of a fading summer.
In black on stretcher brace, u.l.: 6436 / 36" x 36" In black on stretcher brace, u.r.: Oli Sihvonen 1962 / FenesTRA #7 / (GReen, Violet-Blue) In white chalk on stretcher brace, u.r.: 1563/6 71CM / S(...) [hidden by label] Label on stretcher brace, u.r.: 900.-- Label on stretcher brace, u.r.: STABLE GALLERY 33 EAST 74TH STREET NEW YORK 21 / ARTIST OLI SIHVONEN / TITLE FENESTRA #7 / DATE 1962 / SIZE 36" X 36" / MEDIUM OIL ON CANVAS / PRICE $600.00
Vertical hanging scroll of calligraphic text consisting of five Chinese characters in black ink, with artist signature and seal. One of a pair.
These two calligraphic works are done by Chang Ku-nien’s wife, Chen Shu-chen, who was an accomplished painter and calligrapher herself. Written in semi-cursive script, it demonstrates the artist’s affinity for bold and well-defined lines. The couplet of poetry, reads from right to left, praises the importance of one of China’s classics: There are many old books which have many special characters; yet only great I Ching (Book of Changes) shows us a path through past and future.