A study of Yokoyama Taikan’s Yamaji (the Mountain Path) at The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto

Yokoyama Taikan’s Yamaji (in The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto), X-ray fluorescence analysis

 This study represents joint research on Yokoyama Taikan’ s Yamaji with Eisei Bunko that took place as part of a Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems research project entitled Documentary research on cultural properties. Taikan’s Yamaji in Eisei Bunko’s collection was exhibited at the 5th Bunten Art Exhibition (sponsored by the Ministry of Education) in 1911 and is an important work that inaugurated new forms of expression in Japanese painting with its vivid strokes. After the work was studied last fall, a variant of Yamaji in The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto was studied on May 29. Following the work that was exhibited at Bunten, the variant was painted by Taikan for Hara Sankei, a well-known Yokohama industrialist and avid collector of artwork. A letter of thanks from Taikan for receipt of payment addressed to Sankei dated February 6, 1912 remains. With the cooperation of Ogura Jitsuko of The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, the current study by Miyake Hidekazu of Eisei Bunko, Shioya Jun of the Institute, and Arai Kei, Taira Yuichirou, and Ogawa Ayako (Tokyo University of the Arts) used near-infrared reflectance photography and X-ray fluorescence analysis to examine paints in the piece. A study of the Bunten piece last fall revealed that Taikan actively used modern pigments. Taikan was found to use modern pigments in the piece that was formerly in the Hara Sankei Collection. Although this piece had the same motif as the Bunten piece, some of its colors differed due to the use of different pigments. The Bunten piece is current being repaired and plans are to study it again when it is unveiled.

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