Silver Wind: The Arts of Sakai Hoitsu
Tuesday, October 2nd I was invited to the member’s viewing and reception of “Silver Wind: The Arts of Sakai Hoitsu” exhibition at Japan Society. This exhibition is the first American retrospective of Sakai Hoitsu (1761-1828), a samurai aristocrat turned Buddhist monk who dedicated his life to art and poetry. On exhibit there were also a few works by his chief pupil Suzuki Kiitsu, although I must admit the difference between the two is quite notable. The event was a full house of Japanese and American business people and scholars.
The exhibition includes 58 screens, scrolls, painted fans, lacquer wares, and woodblock-printed books from public and private collections throughout the United States, including five loans from The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
One of the most striking of all the paintings in display is Hoitsu’s Waves, an incredible pair of twelve-foot-wide six-panel screen, exhibited alongside Rough Waves by Ogata Korin, an earlier artist who inspired Hoitsu to revive the Rimpa (“school of Korin”) style and to paint the Waves screens. But if you are interested in visiting the exhibition, please note that Waves will only be shown until November 4th when it will return to Japan.
So much has been said and written about this celebrated artist, that it almost feels irrelevant to try to express with words what being in front of one of his master pieces feels like. But some are so strikingly beautiful, serene, impactful, and full of harmony that you feel like just standing there, trying to absorb, or rather letting it absorb you.
Of course, this is the kind of experience that deserves to be shared, and even more when subtle links like an Ando Hiroshige book of Ukiyo-e works could serve as symbolic bridge but actually is a big void. So again, yet another experience that I only share with the imaginary readers of this blog. Do yourself a favor and go see it if you can, or at least look this wonderful master up online.