Suzuki Kiitsu (1796-1858)


Six-panel folding screen “Autumn grasses”
Ink, colour and gold-leaf on paper
Seal: Shukurinsai
Suzuki Kiitsu (1796-1858)
End of Edo period, 19th century
H.141cm, W.352cm

The circle stamp “Shukurinsai”, which was one of Kiitsu’s pseudonym. This screen was published in “Masterpieces of Folding Screens of Muromachi through Edo Periods”, Shikōsya Ltd.

Suzuki Kiitsu (1796-1858) was born in Omi Province (present Shiga Prefecture), the son of a dyer who later transferred his shop to Edo. He worked in the family business before becoming a pupil of Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1828) who was the founder of the Edo-Rinpa School. In 1826, along with his master, he prepared for publication Korin Hyakuzu (Collection of 100 Works by Korin), from which he learned the style of Sotatsu and Korin. His talent was well assessed and he succeeded to Sakai Hōitsu substantially. The masterpiece painted by him, “Morning Glories Screen” is possessed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. His works are full of urbaneness and intellectual decorative beauty, and fascinate people crossing the borders and generations.

This six-fold paper screen is painted in ink and color on a buff and gold ground depicting an autumn field. Suzuki Kiitsu put three groups of autumn flowers in a triangle form. The flowers composition is mainly made with chrysanthemum and Japanese pampas grass, and the other flowers as bellflower, fern, and smilax glabra (sarsaparilla) are painted little by little quietly. The Japanese pampas grasses are bending from left to right, and it determines the optic angle effect. Suzuki Kiitsu depicted the rain by putting thin black ink from the upper left to the lower right. It directs the small wild flowers are standing against the wind and rains. They seem pretty pitiful and touching, but also they are full of the life force.

Coll. Metropolitan New York; Art Institute Chicago; Detroit Institute of Art; Museum of Fine Arts Boston; Indianapolis Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); Honolulu Museum of Art; Brooklyn Museum; British Museum; Victoria and Albert Museum; Feinberg Collection (USA); Etsuko & Joe Price Collection (USA); Tokyo National Museum;