Tomioka Tessai reached the pinnacle of his career in old age, when his physical appearance - flowing, white beard, dark robe and scholar's hat - resembled that of a Daoist immortal. Mirroring his creative powers during the last decade of his life, his keen intellectual curiosity kept him engaged in the contemporary art scene. Ogawa Senyo (1882-1971) remembered encountering the nearly eighty-year-old Tessai, dressed in his trademark robe and carrying his cane, studying newly introduced French art at an exhibition. Tessai's mature painting style, characterized by exuberant ink brushwork and bright colors, emerged after a lifelong study of not only Chinese and Japanese literati traditions but also the practices of the Kano school, Yamatoe, Rinpa, and Ukiyoe. He even experimented with Western-style painting. (Michiyo Morioka: Literati Modern, p.305).
Tomioka Tessai (1836-1924)
Ink and color on paper
131.7 x 31.2 cm (51 3/4 x 12 1/4 in.)
Mounting 195 x 37 cm (77 x 14 1/2 in.)