Kuemon Endo, my grandfather, loved and collected Japanese art extensively. Our family’s cultural life orbited around the “way of tea” culture, sometimes called tea ceremony in the western world. He was continually educating himself to master this way. At one time in his life, he decided to learn how to draw with Sumi ink and brush, Sumi-e. It was not that he wanted to become an artist, but rather to sharpen his eye to enjoy art more deeply. His teacher was Mr. Kansetsu Hashimoto. It was probably when Mr. Kansetsusettled in Kyoto around 1910-20 that he taught my grandfather. My grandmother told me so many times about the lessons, describing how my grandfather appreciated them. He also enjoyed the conversation with Mr. Kansetsu over dinners afterward.
One day I found a box full of drawings in an art storage facility of our century-old house. I realized that they were the practice drawings by my grandfather and some model drawings by his teacher, Kansetsu Hashimoto. To separate the two was very easy. About 95% of the drawings are by my grandfather, and the rest were by the teacher. The difference was pronounced.
Those by the teacher are glorious. A very few masterful lines/brush strokes make an animal, a fish, or a landscape appear on a paper. It is not an explanation nor detailed depiction of an animal, a finish, so forth, but instead, as if it is a memory of those in one’s mind in a few strokes, memories in the artist’s mind.
This drawing is one of them.
About the Artist
Japanese painter Kansetsu Hashimoto was born in Kobe city and settled in Kyoto around 1910 -20. He was one of the central figures in Taisho and early Showa era art circles in Kyoto.