Gekko (1859 - 1920)

Two Loving Pigeons

Medium: Woodblock Print
Date: c. 1900
Size (H x W): 9 x 9.25 (inches)
Signature: Gekko
Condition: Very good color, impression and state



Ogata Gekko is known for perfecting his own singular style, which merged ukiyo-e, shijo style painting, nihonga, and Chinese painting. This unique approach has the appearance of painting rather than traditional woodblock printing, with an emphasis on areas of wash rather than linear effects. In this print, Gekko’s signature technique of mimicking the qualities of ink wash is employed to delicate and refined effect, where the puffed breast of the white pigeon is actually depicted through ingenious reserve techniques, allowing the white of the paper to stand out. 


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.