Tomita Keisen's blend of traditional Japanese
styles within the framework of a highly
individualistic outlook earned him the
reputation of being unconventional, a
characterization that has persisted in modern
Born the fifth son of a noodle manufacturer in
Hakata (present-day Fukuoka) in 1879, Keisen's
interest in painting began early. At the age for
twelve, Keisen began studying Kano-school
painting with Kinugasa Tankoku. Kaisen also
worked with another local artist, Ueda Tekko.
During this period, Keisen first saw the works of
Sengai Gibon, a Zen monk known for his
whimsical painting style, who had lived at
Hakata's Shofukuji Temple during his final years.
Sengai's work held a lifelong fascination for
Keisen, although this interest did not manifest
itself stylistically until late in his career.
Both the painting and the original box are
signed and sealed by Tomita Keisen.
Tomita Keisen (1879-1936)
Ink on paper
136.7 x 32.6 (53 3/4 x 12 3/4 in.)
Mounting: 197.5 x 48 cm (77 3/4 x 19 in)
Original box (tomobako)