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Suzuki Kiitsu 鈴木其一

“Shiki Zakura” (All-season Blooming Cherry)

Fan painting, ink and color on paper
39.4 x 54.9 cm. (15 1/2 x 21 5/8 in.)

“Painted by Kiitsu.”

Artist’s seal:

Box inscription:
“A fan painting by Kiitsu of kaerizaki (second blooming cherry blossoms). Formerly in the collection of the Konoike family (one of the largest merchant houses of Edo Japan).”

Two slender branches, one with two red leaves, the veins of which were rendered in gold, the other with two white blossoms shading to pink, constitute the total pictorial components of this charming painting. The absence of any further context concentrates all attention on those few elements, ensuring that we examine them in detail. The blossoms are those of the cherry tree, which usually flowers in the spring, while the red leaves identify the season here as autumn, a seeming anomaly. However, there are in fact two species of cherry trees that blossom during the fall and winter, and it is this rare type that was chosen for the present painting. The rarity of this subject in art and in nature and explains and justifies the care taken by the artist in his presentation here.

Suzuki Kiitsu (1796-1858) was born in Omi province, the son of a dyer who later transferred his shop to Edo. Adopted by Suzuki Reitan, Kiitsu worked first as a dyer, inventing a technique of dyeing with purple, and then studied with Sakai Hoitsu (1761-1828), becoming the leading disciple of that master of the decorative Rimpa style



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