Paper, c. 1860, [27 x 1,275 cm]
A very richly coloured scroll of 66 species of exotic birds, unsigned but probably by a Chinese Artist or an artist of the Kanō school. Most likely Hashimoto Gahō (橋本 雅邦, August 21, 1835 – January 13, 1908) , Japanese painter and one of the last to paint in the style of the Kanō school.
Born in Edo, he studied painting under Kanō Shōsen’in, and was influenced as well by the work of Kanō Hōgai. He created many works in the traditional style of the Kanō school, using colour & gold, or otherwise monochrome black ink. But while his paintings are very much the works of a traditionalist, using traditional methods and depicting traditional subjects, Gahō, like Kanō Hōgai, incorporated elements of Western art as well. Brush-strokes, various types of detailing, and in particular, attempts at the proper depiction of perspective are evident in Gahō’s paintings and in many others of this period.
He opened his own studio in 1860, but the political and economic upheavals surrounding the Meiji Restoration forced Gahō to seek income in other ways than by selling fine art. He produced maps for the Naval Academy, painted on fans, and used his skills in a number of other ways to earn a living.
Gahō was invited in 1884, by Okakura Kakuzō, to become the chief professor of painting at the Tōkyō Bijutsu Gakkō (東京美術学校, now the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music) which would open five years later. In 1898, Gahō joined Okakura in leaving the Bijutsu Gakkō, and founding the Japan Fine Arts Academy (日本美術院, Nihon Bijutsuin). He would teach there until his death in 1908.
As a result of his position as chief painting professor, Gahō had a number of important pupils, including Yokoyama Taikan and Kawai Gyokudō.
The species of birds include dramatic watercolour drawings of pheasants and other game birds; water fowl, warblers, finches and birds of prey.