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Gekko (1859 - 1920)

Popular Viewing of the Captured Chinese Warship Chenyuen

Series: Sino-Japanese War
Medium: Woodblock Print
Date: 1895
Size (H x W): 14.75 x 30 (inches)
Publisher: Takekawa Risaburo (Chikusendo)
Seals: Artist Seal
Signature: Gekko
Condition: Very good color and impression, very light staining in sky and bottom right of right sheet.

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The print "Popular Viewing of the Captured Chinese Warship Chenyuen" by Gekko Ogata depicts the Chinese warship Chenyuan captured by the Japanese at the surrender of the Chinese during the Battle of Weihaiwei on February 12, 1895. The journey of the ship from Weihaiwei to Yokosuka Japanese was chronicled in Japanese newspapers at the time, building excitement for the ships's arrival on July 28, 1895. It is thought that this print went on sale in August. The ship, now renamed Chinen, was met by crowds. On September 7, 1896 the Chinen entered the service of the Japanese Imperial Navy. 

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.