KITAŌJI ROSANJIN (1883-1959)
Unique, large thickly walled Karatsu madara-glazed vessel with diagonally incised comb patterning
Glazed stoneware with Totōan box
17 1/4 x 15 5/8 in.
Potter’s mark: Ro (on body)
Box title: Madara-yū nensen koku-mon ōtsubo; Large Madara Mottled-Glazed Vessel with Incised Twisting-Threads Patterning (on cover)
Kitaōji Rosanjin sensei no saku, Created by master Kitaōji Rosanjin (inside cover)
Box signature: Kuroda Tōtōen; Reiwa kanoe ne (2020)
Box seal: Tōtōen
Master of an enormous range of glazes, KITAŌJI ROSANJIN (1883-1959) produced superb functional vessels and tableware in stoneware and porcelain that were initially created for his celebrated and exclusive eating club in Kyoto. By the 1940s, however, he had fully become a ceramic artist and built a kiln compound at Kita Kamakura that attracted artists and collectors alike. Today, Rosanjin is the best-known Japanese ceramist of the twentieth century.
This powerful vessel of 1955 flaunts Rosanjin’s genius for imbuing a classical form with a striking sense of modernity. In terms of form, the vessel recalls ancient types, particularly of the Momoyama period, which was undergoing a revival of interest in Japanese artistic circles at the time. But with the thick rising neck and heavily-walled structure, combined with the irregular rippling combed lines and surface patterning, Rosanjin declares in no uncertain terms that this is a bold work not only of the twentieth century but one that is unmistakably "by Rosanjin".
This vessel is unique in many ways, but quite literally, there is no other like it.
His skill with glazes is on fully display, as the vessel gleams alternately in pinks, beiges, greys, and several shades of blue. The captivating surface decoration, created with flung splashes of mottled glaze, pools and drips across the textured surface. Fascinatingly, the heavily applied glaze is caught suspended in mid-drip down the interior of the collared neck, creating a stunning visual work from all angles.
By 1955, Rosanjin had returned from his travels in the US and Europe; his exhibition at Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York was organized by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1954, and the same year he traveled to France and met an admirer in Picasso.
This vessel is unique in many ways, but quite literally, there is no other like it. For an artist who recognized early on the advantages of scale and production, who is thought to have some 100,000 to 300,000 ceramics to his name, and who had built his own kiln compound at Kita Kamakura fully staffed by a team of workers, this singular masterpiece stands apart.
TRADITION REDEFINED is a landmark exhibition that brings the works of Rosanjin to New York after a long absence of nearly fifty years. We are thrilled at Joan B Mirviss LTD to feature this masterpiece by a legendary artist in his prime.
"Without extraordinary ideas there can be no extraordinary results."