Ogata Korin


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Art in Early Modern Japan

Frank Feltens


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A lush portrait introducing one of the most important Japanese artists of the Edo period

Best known for his paintings Irises and Red and White Plum Blossoms, Ogata Korin (1658–1716) was a highly successful artist who worked in many genres and media—including hanging scrolls, screen paintings, fan paintings, lacquer, textiles, and ceramics. Combining archival research, social history, and visual analysis, Frank Feltens situates Korin within the broader art culture of early modern Japan. He shows how financial pressures, client preferences, and the impulse toward personal branding in a competitive field shaped Korin’s approach to art-making throughout his career. Feltens also offers a keen visual reading of the artist’s work, highlighting the ways Korin’s artistic innovations succeeded across media, such as his introduction of painterly techniques into lacquer design and his creation of ceramics that mimicked the appearance of ink paintings. This book, the first major study of Korin in English, provides an intimate and thought-provoking portrait of one of Japan’s most significant artists. 

Frank Feltens is Japan Foundation Associate Curator of Japanese Art at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

"With a mastery of the prodigious Korin scholarship in Japanese and insightful visual analysis, Feltens weaves together a narrative of artistic development that gives readers a textured understanding of the life and circumstances of this major world artist."—Yukio Lippit, Harvard University

"This is an excellent treatment of a figure regarded as a towering artist of early modern Japan, and indeed of all Japanese art. Feltens demonstrates an impressive and thorough mastery of critical Japanese source materials, and weaves them into a compelling account of Korin's career."—Timon Screech, SOAS, University of London

Winner of a grant from the Millard Meiss Publication Fund of CAA
ISBN: 9780300256918
Publication Date: October 12, 2021
240 pages, 8 x 10
144 color + 21 b/w illus.