Seitei (Shōtei) Watanabe – Three Turtles

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Additional information

Artist

Watanabe, Seitei (Shōtei)

Condition

(A) Very Fine Condition

Date

1910s-1930s

Movement

Shin-hanga

Size

Chuban (7"x10")

Subjects

Birds / Beasts

A beautiful print by Seitei Watanabe, but a bit of a mystery – while we can find examples of the subject of this print, we can’t find any record of this specific print.

Seitei is known for his work in kacho-e, having produced a number of high quality volumes on the subjects of plants and animals. In 1890 he produced his third album which can be viewed here. On page 17/18 you can see the closest example of this print that we can find; it looks like Seitei took this study of his of turtles and turned it into a standalone print while adding a bit more landscape context to it, along with additional color.

The Woodblock Print

This chuban is in very good condition. There is some rippling to the paper, but no significant defects. Very strong, saturated color, with great clarity within the printing. A vibrant and dynamic print, it mixes a lovely dichotomy of detail (in the turtles) to washes and almost impressionist treatment of the surrounding landscape. A clean verso.

About the Artist

Seitei Watanabe, also known as Shōtei, was born in Edo in 1851 and adopted into the Watanabe family. Seitei was first trained by the Edo artist Kikuchi Yōsai (1788-1878) and then briefly worked with Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891). In 1875 one of his flower designs for the Industry and Commerce Company of Matsuo Gisuke won a flower-crest award. When his work won a bronze medal at a Paris industrial exhibition, he travelled to Paris and he studied and worked there for three years. Seitei was the first Nihonga painter who studied in Europe.

He became famous for his paintings of birds and flowers (kacho-e), in which he combined close observation of nature with Japanese and Western technique. He also made textile designs, cloisonné, woodblocks and printed books. He wrote several books on painting, including Kachō Gafu (Birds and Flowers), published in 1890.

Watanabe Seitei was widely appreciated for the way in which he gave new vigor to the traditional subjects of flowers and birds, both in Japan and abroad, and was one of the first Japanese artists whose works were exhibited abroad and collected by Western art lovers. He died in 1918.

About the Artist

Seitei Watanabe, also known as Shōtei, was born in Edo in 1851 and adopted into the Watanabe family. Seitei was first trained by the Edo artist Kikuchi Yōsai (1788-1878) and then briefly worked with Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891). In 1875 one of his flower designs for the Industry and Commerce Company of Matsuo Gisuke won a flower-crest award. When his work won a bronze medal at a Paris industrial exhibition, he travelled to Paris and he studied and worked there for three years. Seitei was the first Nihonga painter who studied in Europe.

He became famous for his paintings of birds and flowers (kacho-e), in which he combined close observation of nature with Japanese and Western technique. He also made textile designs, cloisonné, woodblocks and printed books. He wrote several books on painting, including Kachō Gafu (Birds and Flowers), published in 1890.

Watanabe Seitei was widely appreciated for the way in which he gave new vigor to the traditional subjects of flowers and birds, both in Japan and abroad, and was one of the first Japanese artists whose works were exhibited abroad and collected by Western art lovers. He died in 1918.