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The four seasons in atelier (Spring)



Takeshi Katori Takeshi


1949 –

No image
  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Heisei period 1989 - → Japan
    Media category
    Materials used
    hand-coloured mezzotint
    70.0 x 35.7 cm image; 77.5 x 53.0 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Signed l.r., pencil "T.Katori". Not dated.

    Gift of the artist 1993
    Not on display
    Accession number
    Artist information
    Takeshi Katori Takeshi

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Already Katori has exhibited widely and received recognition for his distinctive mezzotints. Born in Tokyo, he graduated from Tokyo Gakugei University where he had initially studied etching but then turned to mezzotints after finding one by the master Hasegawa Kiyoshi (1891-1980) in a second-hand bookshop and being deeply impressed by its tone. In 1977 he further deepened his knowledge of mezzotints by travelling to Europe, meeting mezzotint artists Hasegawa and Hamaguchi Yozo (b. 1909), and also by visiting major European museums and photographing some 3000 pieces.

    About 1983 his interest shifted to still-lifes which have since been his main motif. Recently his mezzotints have become larger, and he has introduced colour into his prints, almost as if competing with oil painting. In his prints he revels in the contrast of light and dark, tones and shadows accentuated by coloured highlights. This print is one of a set on the four seasons, such sets of four having a long history in Asian painting. However the subject and composition are dearly inspired by European prototypes and a Western viewer cannot but help recall seventeenth-century Dutch vanitas still-lifes in which each element conspires to emphasise the vanity, emptiness and transience of life. In such compositions, rare and precious objects, whose very existence is the mark of a collector's vanity, are placed alongside flowers which, with their brief existence, are extremely ephemeral. Other such still-lifes are allegories of the five senses.

    While the flowers in Katori's print evoke the same admiring response as a viewer might feel in front of a seventeenth-century Dutch still-life, the banality of the other objects, including even the once popularly ubiquitous Rubik's cube, is jarring and offers an ironic comment on modem materialism and banality. Or perhaps it is a wry acknowledgement that the past is indeed a foreign country.

    Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints: The Urban Bonsai, 1992, pg. 53.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication