Ike Taiga and Tokuyama Gyokuran


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Japanese Masters of the Brush

Felice Fischer with Kyoko Kinoshita; With essays by Jonathan Chaves, Sadako Ohki, and Shimatani Hiroyuki


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Ike Taiga (1723–1776) and his wife Tokuyama Gyokuran (1727–1784) were preeminent artists in 18th-century Japan. This landmark book––the only comprehensive survey available in English—focuses on the lives and times of these artists and accompanies the first-ever exhibition devoted to their work in the United States.
Considered by contemporaries to be an eccentric marvel, indifferent to worldly preoccupations, Taiga is best known as an exponent of the so-called Nanga school of Chinese literati painting. He was hugely prolific and experimental, working in an impressive range of styles, techniques, compositions, and subjects to produce over 1,000 calligraphies and paintings, and many large-scale fusuma (sliding doors) and screens. While not as well known as her husband, Gyokuran was a significant artist and a well-regarded poet of Japanese verse. Taiga wrote poetry in Chinese, and translated poems by both artists are featured prominently in this volume. 

Published in association with the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Exhibition Schedule:

Philadelphia Museum of Art (May 1 – July 22, 2007)

Felice Fischer is The Luther W. Brady Curator of Japanese Art and Curator of East Asian Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art.


Philadelphia Museum of Art (May 1 – July 22, 2007)

"[A] voluminous, beautifully illustrated catalog."—Edward J. Sozanski, Philadelphia Inquirer

"An excellent and hefty catalog."—Roberta Smith, New York Times

"Sumptuous is not the word for this huge volume devoted to a husband-and-wife pair of artists. With its beautifully reproduced scrolls, screens and calligraphy in a variety of styles, it is eye candy for the aficionado and casual gazer alike."—Art and Antiques Magazine

"A splendid publication in every sense, this catalog celebrates the 18th-century lives of preeminent ink painter, poet, calligrapher, and pioneer Nanga artist, Ike no Taiga, and his wife, Tokuyama Gyokuran, poet and painter, little known in the West, for whom this exhibition is probably the first ever. More significantly, the book celebrates the valuable functions of intimate partnership—in art as well as in life. . . . Highly recommended."—Choice

"Artists Taiga and Gyokuran were preeminent artists in 18th-century Japan. The only comprehensive survey of their work available in English, the volume features over 200 illustrations of their screens, scrolls, album paintings, and fans. A lifetime treasure."—Art Matters

"Production values are exceptionally high, and the scholarship cutting-edge—while also providing illuminating explanations thorough enough to bring nonspecialists into the fold."—Mara Miller, College Art Association Reviews

“The plainly laid out text, beautifully illustrated, tells of the artists’ lives, and teaches us how to read the paintings and the poetry. This is followed by a catalogue of over 200 works, man on fold out pages … a book of rare quality … an impeccable example of classic design … The outstanding level of scholarship goes hand in hand with accessibility. All in all, a stunning book.” - The Art Book

ISBN: 9780300122183
Publication Date: May 24, 2007
Publishing Partner: Published in association with the Philadelphia Museum of Art
504 pages, 9 3/4 x 11 3/4
26 b/w + 461 color illus.
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