‘Rooster and Hen With Hydrangeas’

Ito Jakuchu

Artist
Ito Jakuchu, from the Joe and Etsuko Price Collection

See It
“Ito Jakuchu: A Man With No Age” runs April 16 through June 18, followed by “Masterpieces From the Price Collection,” June 14 through July 10 at the Bowers, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, 714-567-3600, bowers.org.

Background
The Prices, who live in Corona del Mar, have amassed a collection of between 600 and 700 works from Japan’s Edo period (1615-1868). At the collection’s center is Jakuchu (1715-1800), a vegetable seller and Buddhist monk whose art has received renewed attention in Japan. He’s the focus of the first of two Price-related exhibits at the Bowers.

Creation
Joe says he discovered his first Jakuchu piece—a black-and-white scroll of grapevines called a sumi—hanging on the back wall of a little New York City shop he was visiting with architect Frank Lloyd Wright. “[The scroll] surpassed the beauty of nature. Not one brush stroke crossed another, yet the painting had great depth.”

Inspiration
Jakuchu devoted himself to capturing the beauty of nature, which is one of the key considerations for Joe when acquiring a piece for the collection. Another factor is the artist’s skill, and this Jakuchu work is a prime example. Says Joe: “There’s only one layer of ink on the entire painting.”

>>Online Only
Browse a gallery of Ito Jakuchu work

This article originally appeared in the April 2011 issue.

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