WATANABE SEITEI (1851-1918)
Blossoming pink peonies with white butterfly
Ink and color on silk
45 1/4 x 14 1/4 in.
Watanabe Seitei (Shōtei) was famous for his paintings of flowers and birds (kachō-ga) in addition to being a successful illustrator and designer. He began his artistic training studying Kanō and Yamato-e styles under the painter Kikuchi Yôsai (1788-1878), and then later worked under the eminent artist Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891). In 1878, Seitei won the bronze medal at the World Exposition in Paris, where he remained for three years studying Western-style painting techniques. He was the first Nihonga artist to study in Europe.
After returning to Japan, his paintings were celebrated for their successful combination of his newly acquired painting techniques with more traditional Japanese manners of representation. His works were exhibited in subsequent World Expositions in Amsterdam in 1883 and Chicago in 1893.