Nakamura Teii, (1900-1982)
hanging scroll, ink and color on silk; signed Teii hitsu with one artist's seal Teii, with tomobako, titled Kunpu, and signed Teii saku ga with one artist's seal Teii, ca. 1920s-30s
painting 47 7/8 by 13 in., 121.6 by 33.1 cm
overall 80 7/8 in. by 18 in., 205.5 by 45.8 cm
Nakamura Teii, born Nakamura Kiyosada, was both a bijinga painter and woodblock print designer. Although his hands were severely damaged at a young age from a burn injury, Nakamura was undaunted and learned to paint by holding a brush with both hands. In 1919, he became a student at Kitano Tsunetomi's atelier, Haku-yosha (White Radiance Company), where he studied bijinga. That same year he exhibited a painting at the 10th Inten. He joined the Nihon Bijutsuin Inyu in 1920 (his sensei, Tsunetomi was a member). In 1923 he won first prize at the Nihon Bijutsuin exhibition, the 9th Shisakuten (Exhibition of Experimental Works), which brought him in contact with Yokoyama Taikan, a leading and frequently controversial Nihonga painter. Nakamura became a student of Taikan at a time when the master was enjoying considerable power and influence in the Nihon Bijutsuin. In 1928 Nakamura married another painter, Takahashi Chiyoko, who was a student of Shima Seien (1893-1972), another leading Osaka painter. Throughout his career, Nakamura continued to win prizes and support for his work. He won first prize at the 19th Inten in 1932; the Osaka Prefecture Arts and Crafts Award in 1946; in 1960 the Ministry of Education Award and the Osaka Citizen Cultural Award; in 1966 the Nihon Geijutsuin (Japan Art Academy Award). In 1977 he became a director of the Nihon Bijutsuin Inyu (Japan Art Institute) and a director of the Yokohama Taikan Memorial Hall, where he was promoted to chairman in 1981.
This painting provides an interesting example of bijinga influenced by Art Deco. Although not dated, the painting appears to be from the 1920's-30's. The subject is a young beauty standing beneath a branch of flowering plum. The title, Kunpu (Balmy Wind), is suggested by a scattering of falling red petals and her gesture of securing her kimono closed against the breeze. While her face is softly modeled, her elegant kimono is decorated with exaggerated proportions suggestive of the Art Deco style with flat planes of color contrasting red stylized waves against a ground of pale pink with subtle embroidered scrolling vines at the torso and bamboo leaves on the lower half.
Helen Merritt and Nanako Yamada, Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: 1900-1975, University of Hawaii Press, 1992, p. 105
Kazuto Yui, Nijuseiki bukko Nihon gaka jiten, Tokyo, 1998
Jeffrey Cline and William Knospe, Light Through the Clouds: Modern Japanese Paintings, Kagedo Japanese Art, 2005, p. 180
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