Uemura Shōen｜Japanese Art｜上村松園 (うえむら しょうえん)
Uemura Shoen /上村 松園 ( April 23, 1875 – August 27, 1949)
Adachi Museum of Art/足立美術館
Uemura Shoen is the first female recipient of the Order of Culture award, as well as being hired as the Imperial Household's official artist. Shoen created this painting inspired by ”Morning Glory Diary", Jōruri, Japanese puppet theatre script.
Adachi Museum of Art, Shimane Pref.
Shoen depicted Woman's strong will which are not violated by anything through "Jo no Mai" (序の舞), Noh Theatre.
Although Shoen is Classified as Bijinga painter, we could say she changed the definition of Beautiful woman. Woman in Shoen's painting, they have strong will of their own and elegance, unlike woman of Bijinga (beautiful woman portrait) in Edo Era. In this sense, Shoen is Like Coco Chanel. She created moden woman model, independent lady.
*Her real name was Uemura Tsune. Shōen was known primarily for her bijin-ga paintings of beautiful women in the nihonga style, although she produced numerous works on historical themes and traditional subjects.
Shōen is considered a major innovator in the bijin-ga genre despite the fact she often still used it to depict the traditional beauty standards of women. Bijin-ga gained criticism during the Taisho era while Shōen worked due to its lack of evolution to reflect the more modern statuses of women in Japan. During bijin-ga's conception in the Tokugawa, or Edo, period, women were regarded as lower class citizens and the genre often reflected this implication onto its female subjects.
Within the Taisho era, women had made several advancements into the Japanese workforce, and artistry specifically was becoming more popular outside of pass times for the elite, which opened way for Shōen's success. *
*Uemura Shoen was born in Kyoto. She was a student of Suzuki Shonen, and later studied under Kono Bairei and Takeuchi Seiho. Shoen emerged as an excellent painter, releasing many works relating to Kyoto’s manners and Japanese classical literature mainly for the government-sponsored exhibitions. In the Showa Period, she painted noble and elegant women by using simple, beautiful, and lean lines and bright, but not too flashy colors. She made endeavors to express the inner depth in addition to those features, which led to the establishment of her own style of painting.*
*Adachi Museum of Art, Shimane Pref.