MATSUMURA KEIBUN (1779-1843)
Pair of shoreline scenes depicting cranes and a small fishing village
Ink and color with flecked gold leaf on silk
Pair 2-fold furosaki (sleeping) screens
18 x 61 in. (painting); 24 x 72 1/2 in. (with mount)
Sealed: Minamoto Keibun no in
Box: Original storage box signed by artist, dated Tempô 8 (1838), 3rd month, and cites name of commissioning client
This pair of screens clearly illustrates Keibun’s command of the Maruyama-shijô aesthetic. The precise brushwork articulating the birds and selected landscape elements are balanced by soft gentle pastel washes and the decorative application of gold leaf in two tonalities, representing mist and clouds. In this intimate composition, small village huts with smoke emanating from their chimneys, hug the shoreline as cranes fly overhead towards their flock resting beneath pine trees on the opposite shoreline.
Matsumura Keibun was a Maruyama-shijô painter who lived in Kyoto. While he studied with his elder brother Matsumura Goshun as well as Maruyama Ôkyo, he was also versed in the art theories of the Ming and Ch’ing dynasties. He served as attendant to Prince Shinnin, who had taken Buddhist vows, and lived at the Myôhô-in, Kyoto, which today still owns many of his paintings. From 1818 until his death, he was one of Kyoto’s leading artists, and made the position of the Shijô school secure. He was particularly noted for his kachôga (bird-and-flower) paintings, which were typically drawn from nature. Indeed, he was an avid chronicler of floral and fauna that he documented sketches in field notebooks. Within each of his paintings, beneath the strong Maruyama-shijô aesthetic, there is a distinct sense of individuality.