Born in 1869, Niwayama Koen (also called Keizo) studied under two prominent artists, Ueda Kochu and Suzuki Shonen.About the Artist He was schooled in Shijo-school traditions. The delicacy of his works was found increasingly less receptive in the Meiji era when the art world was busy mimicking western-style aesthetics. The eventual return to Japanese core aesthetic values in the art world was too late for his career. Koen’s subsequent history, such as his death date, is unknown. His talent was only discovered in later years.
The Shijo School of painting is known for its deft use of allusion. In distilling the essential qualities of natural elements, this style stimulates the imagination and suggests more than what is depicted. This excellent work by Koen is a case in point.
The painting captures the plant’s serene spirit. The work is quiet, organic, and straightforward. His mastery over Sumi ink is discernible.