Itou Gekkou is one of my favorite painters, and these days he’s one of my favorite potters as well. Gekkou comes from a very long line of fantastic potters, of bonsai ware and other items, and I find the story of his progression to today most interesting.
Itou Gekkou was born May 22, 1939. His Parents, Itou Shikou and Itou Tankyou, both professional bonsai potters, seem to have identified their sons’ unique talents from an early age. In 1959, Gekkou began painting sometsuke pots, many made by his brother, Itou Tonyo, local renowned potters, or parents.
While in the beginning many of his pots were made by Tonyo, Bikoh, and others, in the last 30 years Gekkou has developed into an amazing potter in his own right, as well as painter, though Tonyo may still be the better clay-man for his technical excellence.
Gekkou was heavily influenced by the detailed paintings of Tsukinowa Yusen.
All of his paintings are done freehand, no stencil or patterns like some painters use. His line and painting techniques have become much more refined in the last decade, and stand up as excellent beside work by any contemporary pottery painter. His techniques are as varied as can be, including sometsuke, red paintings, overglaze enamels, and go-sai(5 color).
Enjoy some pieces by one of the most popular contemporary painters of bonsai pottery!
Another of mine. Indigo glazed rectangle pot with red window landscape. The glaze separation between the porcelain and the blue is clean, with no blurring, and the red landscape is well done. An earlier piece than the previous, as can be seen by the higher quality of brushwork in the first pot.
A five color round from the collection of good friend and fellow collector Matt Ouwinga of Kaede Bonsai-En. I helped his fiancé pick this one out for him for Christmas…who wouldn’t want to find this under the tree! Awesome brushwork and really strong, overglaze enamel painting. Really impressive!
Another from Matt’s collection. This pot was used in Kokufu Ten. Nice patina, early work by the look of the brushwork. Dating porcelain is a tough matter, as it patinates at a tenth the rate of typical glazes and clay types, but this one looks to be at least 30 years old from the brushwork and patina.
This one is super cool. One of 3 collaboration pieces I have seen between Gekkou and Kamiya Ryuen. Really cool 5-color painting. Calls to my mind some of the ornately painted and decorated unglazed antique Chinese pots I’ve seen.
A taller cascade piece with a winter scene. I’ve said it before, but it’s still surprising to me that winter scenes aren’t more common, given that it’s the best time to veiw deciduous trees and both the Kokufu and Gafu Tens are held in the dead of winter!
An earlier work collaboration piece from Gekkou and his brother, Itou Tonyo. Nice round window with a bird peeking out from the intricate decorative painting. This motif is common to Pottery paintings, and always reminds me of MC Escher.
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing this selection of pots from master painter Itou Gekkou. Til the next post! More from my collection, including pots by Heian Kouzan, Heian Kouso, and some antique Chinese!