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Guignard Kyoto Collection

White heron on willow branch | Suzuki Kason 鈴木華邨 | 1860-1919

White heron on willow branch | Suzuki Kason 鈴木華邨 | 1860-1919

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Kason received his basic training - which ultimately remained his basis - from a student of Maruyama Ōkyō (1733-1795), who became famous above all for his new realistic style of representation. Kason, born in Edo (Tokyo), later studied various other styles, as was expected of a professional painter in his time. At the age of 33 he took part in world exhibitions - first in Chicago, later in Paris and then in London, and received awards each time.

In this picture, Kason takes a more free approach to his subject than one would expect from an artist in the painter genealogy of Maruyama Ōkyō. He lets a broad, water-saturated ink brush glide over the format and does not bother with the details of the willow tree on which the bird is standing. The heron, however, is depicted in a very typical, concentrated pose, focused on catching fish. The precisely captured details do not, however, get bogged down in naturalistic pettiness. The whole picture lives from the freshness of the spontaneous brushwork.
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