Sōtatsu: Making Waves

A Thousand Cranes

The broad surface of these two screens accommodates Kayama’s elegant homage to the decorative styles of Japan’s sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. There are several references to Sōtatsu and to Kōrin—in content and in technique. As a young man, Kayama had been deeply impressed by the exhibitions of works by Sōtatsu, Kōrin, and Henri Matisse (1869–1954) held at the Tokyo National Museum in 1947, which must have seemed like an oasis of beauty in the war-ravaged city. The son of a Kyoto textile designer and dyer, Kayama likely shared a sensibility with Sōtatsu and Kōrin.

He believed that “in the works of Sōtatsu one feels a true, rich abundance [and] that Tawaraya Sōtatsu was a luxurious person in every meaning of the word.” To Kayama, Sōtatsu was the only artist from whom such richness “gushed forth.” Many of his works apply the postmodern technique of disassembly and reconstruction. Classical Japanese paintings were often his primary sources.

A Thousand Cranes
Kayama Matazō (1927–2004)
Japan, 1970
Pair of six-panel folding screens
Color on silk
National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, J00716

<< Back to Rediscovery