Ogata Gekkō – Flute Player, Koto Player, Gekko’s Essay
The series Gekko Zuihitsu (Gekko’s Essay) is among the artist’s major works, created in 1886 and 1887; this is Kogo, a renowned Koto player who exiled to Saga, responds Minamoto-no-Nakakuni’s flute by a Koto music from a small house at the Saga-no moor.
Kogo, a renowned Koto player who exiled to Saga, responds Minamoto-no-Nakakuni's flute by a Koto music from a small house at the Saga-no moor.
Gekko's Essay - Gekko Zuihitsu
The series Gekko Zuihitsu (Gekko's Essay) is among Ogata Gekkō's major works, created in 1886 and 1887. The series was published by Matsuki Heikichi in 1887 and consists of 47 designs plus a title page. The format of the single sheets is oban tate-e (portrait format).
The subjects are a diverse collection - history, mythology, warriors, poets, common and not so common people. Gekko's great contemporary Yoshitoshi had created around the same time a large series with no focus on a specific content, the series Tsuki Hyakushi ("Hundred Aspects of the Moon"). But while Yoshitoshi's hundred designs have the image of the moon as common bond, the Gekko series is missing any formal or contents-related bond. Only the design frame with title and text cartouche and the typical Gekko style of composition and mostly subdued colors make the prints recognizable as part of a series.
The Woodblock Print
This woodblock print is approximately 9"x13" (Aiban). The colors are sharp, with incredible usage of embossing to be seen as well as metalic pigment (silver) details throughout.
About the Artist
Ogata Gekkō (1859 - 1920) was a Japanese artist best known as a painter and a designer of ukiyo-e woodblock prints. He was self-taught in art, and won numerous national and international prizes and was one of the earliest Japanese artists to win an international audience.
Gekkō was self-taught in art, and began decorating porcelain and rickshaws, and designing flyers for the pleasure quarters. About 1881 he took the surname Ogata at the insistence of a descendant of the painter Ogata Kōrin. He soon was designing prints and illustrating books and newspapers. In 1886 Gekkō produced the print series Gekkō Zuihitsu (月耕随筆, "Gekkō’s Random Sketches"). In 1888, he married an art student of his, Tai Kiku—his second marriage—and changed his family name to Tai. The First Sino-Japanese War was the subject of a number of triptychs he designed in 1894–95. From the 1890s Gekkō won a number of art prizes, both national and international, one of the earliest Japanese artists to win international attention.