Utage vol.3 The SEITEI

Utage vol.3 The SEITEI

2024.04.27 - 05.12
Open every day from 10 am to 6 pm / free admission

This exhibition has ended.

Our sincere thanks to everyone who visited.

We continue to accept inquiries about the works featured in the catalog even after the exhibition. If your desired work is not available, we are eager to listen to your preferences regarding artists or types of works and suggest pieces that meet your criteria.

Please feel free to contact us.

Kashima Arts (Kyobashi, Tokyo) is proud to present the exhibition “Utage Vol.3 The SEITEI” from April 27 (Sat) to May 12 (Sun) 2024. This exhibition will bring together the exquisite masterpieces of the eminent Japanese painter, Watanabe Seitei, who flourished during the Meiji and Taisho periods. Centered around 24 exclusive selections featured in the art book “WATANABE SEITEI”, wide range of works including bird-and-flower paintings, historical paintings, and portraits and landscapes will be on view.

Watanabe Seitei, famous for being the first Japanese painter to visit Paris during the Meiji period, captivated the eyes of many, especially European artists. While renowned art critics, such as Fenollosa and Okakura Tenshin praised his works, his decision to refrain from associating with the mainstream art scene in his later years kept Seitei’s name relatively obscure in the annals of modern art history. However, with the recent resurgence of interest in Seitei’s work, his remarkable talent and international recognition shone through. This was marked by significant events such as the exhibition “Watanabe Seitei Brilliant Birds, Captivating Flowers” held at The University Art Museum, Tokyo University of the Arts in 2021, and the publication of the art book “WATANABE SEITEI” by Shogakukan. Both domestic and international enthusiasts of Japanese art have increasingly recognized the importance of Seitei’s legacy.

At Kashima Arts, we have been dedicated to promoting the reappraisal of Seitei’s oeuvre since 2017. This exhibition will feature a selection of approximately 30 masterpieces from the art book “WATANABE SEITEI” Please take this opportunity to appreciate the brilliance of the virtuoso Seitei in Japanese Art.

About Watanabe Seitei

Watanabe Seitei was a Japanese painter who flourished during the Meiji and Taisho periods. At the age of 16, he began his apprenticeship under the historical painter Kikuchi Yosai, honing his brushwork and precise observational skills. In 1875, he was dispatched by the Kiryu Kosho Kaisha, a company engaged in the export of fine arts and crafts, to travel to Paris for overseas study, becoming the first Japanese painter to do so. There, he developed close relationships with Impressionist painters such as Edgar Degas, who were influenced by the trend of Japonism. Incorporating Western art techniques with Japanese styles that offer traditional and realistic expression, he pioneered a unique and refined artistic style. He achieved international recognition by exhibiting primarily bird-and-flower paintings at events such as the World Exposition, and holding solo exhibitions in London. He also contributed designs for cloisonné medallions by Namikawa Sosuke, which adorn the Hall of Flowers and Birds at the State Guest House, Akasaka Palace. In his later years, he distanced himself from the public art scene and focused on commissioned works as a painter. Highly esteemed abroad, his works are held in prestigious museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Freer Gallery of Art, and the British Museum.

Highlight 1

Get up close and personal with approximately 30 magnificent works, with a focus on the 24 masterpieces featured in the “WATANABE SEITEI” art book. Among them, you’ll find notable works such as the “Picture Album of Historical Figures” believed to be one of Seitei’s earliest works and exhibited at The University Art Museum, Tokyo University of the Arts exhibition “Watanabe Seitei Brilliant Birds, Captivating Flowers”. Also featured is the “Ryūzu Kannon (Dragon-Riding Kannon)” which graces the cover, and the elegant depiction of the four seasons in Ueno titled “Famous Places of Edo in the Four Seasons” alongside other renowned works like “Bird on a Winter Branch” and “Shōki, the Demon Queller; Carp”.

Highlight 2

Experience Seitei’s captivating charm beyond bird-and-flower paintings!

While Watanabe Seitei is widely recognized as a master of delicate and graceful bird-and-flower paintings, he also delved into a wide range of other genres as well. You can enjoy a collection of works that exhibit a refined and rich style, that offer a different feel from his traditional bird-and-flower paintings.

※ Featured works: “Flower Petals; Snow and Moon”, “Doll Festival (Hinamatsuri)”, “Cat with Butterfly”, “Setsubun Celebrations”

Ryūzu Kannon (Dragon-Riding Kannon)
Weeping Cherry with Bullfinches
Shōki, the Demon Queller; Carp
Doll Festival (Hinamatsuri)
Cat with Butterfly

Exhibition Details

Title: Utage Vol.3 The SEITEI

Date & Times: April 27(Sat) to May 12(Sun) 2024
*Open every day from 10am to 6pm/ Free Admission/ No reservations required

Exhibiting Works: Approx. 30 works


Tokyo Metro Ginza Line “Kyobashi Station” 2-minute walk from Exit 3

Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line “Ginza Ichome Station” 3-minute walk from Exit 7

Toei Asakusa Line “Takaracho Station” 5-minute walk from Exit A4

JR Tokyo Station 9-minute walk from Yaesu South Exit