Art in Early Modern Japan
A lush portrait introducing one of the most important Japanese artists of the Edo period
Best known for his paintings Irises and Red and White Plum Blossoms, Ogata Kōrin (1658–1716) was a highly successful artist who worked in many genres and media—including hanging scrolls, screen paintings, fan paintings, lacquer, textiles, and ceramics. Combining archival research, social history, and visual analysis, Frank Feltens situates Kōrin within the broader art culture of early modern Japan. He shows how financial pressures, client preferences, and the impulse toward personal branding in a competitive field shaped Kōrin’s approach to art-making throughout his career. Feltens also offers a keen visual reading of the artist’s work, highlighting the ways Kōrin’s artistic innovations succeeded across media, such as his introduction of painterly techniques into lacquer design and his creation of ceramics that mimicked the appearance of ink paintings. This book, the first major study of Kōrin in English, provides an intimate and thought-provoking portrait of one of Japan’s most significant artists.
"With a mastery of the prodigious Kōrin scholarship in Japanese and insightful visual analysis, Feltens weaves together a narrative of artistic development that gives readers a textured understanding of the life and circumstances of this major world artist."—Yukio Lippit, Harvard University
"This is an excellent treatment of a figure regarded as a towering artist of early modern Japan, and indeed of all Japanese art. Feltens demonstrates an impressive and thorough mastery of critical Japanese source materials, and weaves them into a compelling account of Kōrin's career."—Timon Screech, SOAS, University of London