Rediscovering Forgotten Modern Japanese Painters: The Charles Stewart Smith Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Third Thursday lecture - Sainsbury Institute

Thursday 19 February, 2015
6:00pm GMT

Dr Eriko Tomizawa-Kay (Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellow)

About the Talk

From 1892 to 1893, whilst on his honeymoon with his third wife, Charles Stewart Smith (1832-1909) bought several thousand Japanese prints, as well as Japanese ceramics and paintings, from the Irish journalist and collector Francis Brinkley (1841–1912). Perhaps most significant among the pictorial works is an a group of 100 album paintings by highly acclaimed Meiji artists such as Hashimoto Gahō (1835-1908), Kawabata Gyokushō (1842-1913), Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831–1889), and Watanabe Seitei (1851-1918), as well as works by relatively unknown artists such as Okada Baison (1864-1913), Ōide Tōkō (1841–1905), and Seki Shūkō (1858- 1915). This lecture explores works by the artists represented in this “Brinkley album,” who were once highly acclaimed but now are almost lost in the Japanese art history canon. It will address who they were, why works by these various artists were eventually collated into an album and how they were connected within the Meiji art world.

About the Speaker

Eriko Tomizawa-Kay obtained her Ph.D. in 2013 from the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, specializing in the Japanese style painting, Nihonga. Eriko was co-organizer of the International Japanese Modern Art History Symposium (JAMAHS) held at SOAS, June 2013. Following the completion of her doctorate, she was awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Art History Fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where from September 2013 to August 2014, she focussed on the Museum’s collection of modern Japanese paintings and prints, and the Art Market of the United States during the late-19th to early-20th centuries.

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The Third Thursday Lecture series is funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Yakult UK.