F is also for Friday: Japanese Pre-War Painting

The first snows are almost upon us.  The light is changing, becoming more muted, much like the sky filtering through in this late 19th century watercolour.   There is nothing like a good mystery to keep indoor life interesting and the search for information about the artist who captured the very breath of winter in these few sure brushstrokes proved riveting.

We have become accustomed to being able to find what we want with a tap on the keyboard – names, biographies, archives – and when all else fails we resort to Wikipedia, but sometimes the trail has been cold for so long that little remains.  Such is the case with Japanese Pre-War painter Ginnosuke Yokouchi (1870 -1942) whose slate, apart from images of some recent reprints and works in a private collection, seems to have been wiped clean.

Oddly, the scene (above) of the little group on their way through the snow to the local temple made one think of Pissarro – it is as if the two painters were inspired by the same soft light, the crispness of the winter air and the serenity of daily village life unfolding around them, even though they were worlds and years apart.

Road to Versailles at Louveciennes – Camille Pissarro, 1869

Was Yokouchi a part of the group of Japanese painters during the Taishō period so greatly influenced by European Impressionist works?  Perhaps, but for lack of a backstory, we may never know…

More to look at:

Impressionism
Ginnosuke Yokouchi at the Hanga Gallery
Japanese Watercolours
Camille Pissarro