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Gekko (1859 - 1920)

Greeting the Carriage of His Imperial Majesty and Commander-in-Chief

Medium: Woodblock Print
Date: 1895
Size (H x W): 14 x 27.75 (inches)
Publisher: Sekiguchi Masajiro (Gyokumeido)
Seals: Artist seal (Engyoryo)
Signature: Oju Gekko
Condition: Very good color and impression, very faint soiling and wear.

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This triptych by Gekko Ogata depicts the Emperor Meiji's procession through the Hibiya Triumphal Arch in Tokyo following his return from Kyoto on May 30, 1895. Though the emperor himself is not pictured in this triptych, the pomp and circumstance of the occasion is conveyed through the cheering crowd of Japanese citizens, the ornate military procession and the monumental “triumphal arcade” which measured 110 meters long and 18 meters high.

About the artist

Gekko Ogata was born in Edo on September 5th, 1859. He originally went by Masanosuke Nagami. His father was a prosperous member of the community but went bankrupt when Gekko was seventeen. With no formal training in art, Gekko commenced his artistic pursuits as an illustrator for newspapers and books. He soon broadened his interest to painting, lacquer and pottery. As he gained popularity as a print artist, he began using the name Gekko in 1884. It is said that he took the name from the famous artist Korin Ogata at the request of Korin's family. Gekko Ogata was well respected and recognized during his lifetime. A member of Meiji Fine Art Society, he assisted in founding the Japan Youth Painting Association alongside Kakuzo Okakura in 1891. He received a gold medal at the 1904 St. Louis World Fair for selections from the fine art print series One Hundred Views of Mt. Fuji. Gekko Ogata perfected his Japanese woodblock print style over the span of his career, merging ukiyo-e printing, nihonga (Japanese-style painting), Shijo-style painting and Chinese painting. His rich artistic background and unique approach to printmaking impart his works with an appearance more akin to a painting than a traditional print. Other artist names used by Gekko include Kagyosai, Meikyosai, Nen’yu, and Rosai.