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Yokoyama Taikan (1868-1958)
Oimatsu, old pines
Signed: Taikan
Seals: Shôkotôshu
Technique: colours and gold on paper, mounted on board 44 x 76.7
Date: c. taisho 8 (1920)
Box: Authorised by Yasuda Yukihiko (1884-1978)
Condition: Framed, fine

Taikan was born in Mito city, Ibaraki Prefecture, as the eldest son of Sakai Sutehiko, an ex-samurai family in Mito clan. He was adopted into his mother's family, from whom he received the name of "Yokoyama". With his family, he moved to Tokyo in 1878. He studied at the Tōkyō Furitsu Daiichi Chūgakkō (Hibiya High School), and was interested in the English language and in western style oil painting. This led him to study pencil drawing with a painter, Watanabe Fumisaburo. He also studied at one of the great painters, Kanō Hōgai, who was the master of Kanō school.

In 1889, Taikan enrolled in the first graduating class of the Tōkyō Bijutsu Gakkō (the predecessor to the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music), which had just been opened by Okakura Kakuzō (aka Okakura Tenshin). In 1913 Taikan, assisted by Yasuda Yukihiko (1884-1978), concentrated on reviving the Japan Fine Arts Academy, which had closed down upon Okakura Kakuzō's death.

Taikan was extremely influential in the evolution of the Nihonga technique, having departed from the traditional method of line drawing. Together with Hishida Shunsō, he developed a new style, Mourou-tai, eliminating the lines and concentrating on soft, blurred polychromes. A number of his works have been classified as Important Cultural Property by the Agency for Cultural Affairs.

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