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Tani Bunchô (1763-1840)
Clouds over a fierce mountain
Signed: Bunchô
Seals: Rakuzan sô
Technique: sumi on silk 42,3 x 51,2
Date: 1838, 3rd month, 12th day
Mounting: bronze damask
130 x 65
Box: inscribed in 1912 by Ishikô Yûrin (1870-1952)
Condition: very good

Bunchô was the eldest son of Tani Rokkoku (1729-1809), a retainer of the Tayasu daimyô family and a well-known poet. From the age of ten Bunchô took painting lessons with the Kanô painter Katô Bunrei (1706-82). After about ten years of Kanô training, he started to experiment in a wide range of other styles, imitating Chinese and European examples and trying his hand at the Sesshû style and the Maruyama-Shijô style.

In 1792 Bunchô was appointed personal attendant to Matsudaira Sadanobu (1758-1829), the head of the Tokugawa government, and accompanied him on his travels. In 1794 Bunchô organized probably the first exhibition of contemporary painting in Edo, just like Kien (1734-1807) had organized his Shin Shoga Tenkan in Kyoto. In 1812 Sadanobu retired. After his employer’s death in 1829, Bunchô was appointed on’eshi (distinguished painting master) by his family and awarded a yearly stipend of 150 koku.. In 1837 He received the honorary rank of hôgen.
Bunchô became a wealthy man who was hardly able to satisfy the demand for his paintings.

Tochigi 1979
Rosenfield B.91
Berry & Morioka ’08 p. 301-02
Roberts p. 10
Araki p. 204 ff.