I haven’t been able to find much biographical information on Kutani Ikko, but it seems no one else has any either, either in the West or in Japan! But, I have a little information, so here goes.
His given name is 宮保 英明(Eimei Kyuho?) and he’s been painting porcelain for over 25 years. Like most Kutani painters, most of his pots are collaboration pieces(Kutani ware works a little like a co-op, with people specializing in porcelain or painting), and he has collaborated with the likes of Tsukinowa Yusen and Takao Koyo. His work is breathtakingly detailed, and pretty rare, and commands some very high prices for an artist so new(relatively speaking) to the bonsai pottery game. Ive got some friends in Japan digging around for extra information for me, so I’ll repost this with an update soon.
Now, on to the pots!
We’ll begin with two sides of an akae painted, rectangular dragon pot. The detail to the dragons on both sides is really spectacular, highly realistic and impressively figured.
Detail of base, showing Ikko’s characteristic signature style featuring animals. If you look closely behind the mouse you can see the stamp of the potter, a frequent collaborator with Ikko, “雅”-“Miyabi”.
Three views of a fantastic overglaze enamel celadon pot with goldfish. The thickness of the enamel makes the goldfish seem almost 3 dimensional. The detailing to the feet is especially nice.
A really nicely painted rectangle with cloud feet. The scene itself calls to my mind both the subject and style of Yusen. Superior brushwork and another with really nice foot detail.
A six sided pot painted in vibrant blue. This one didn’t impress me much until I looked a little closer….
Four views from multiple angles. Up close we can see how impressive a piece this is! The vibrant splash of blue that is the bush in the lower right photo is my favorite detail on this piece.
Nice use of negative space in this 5 color rectangle. The very skillful use of color is incredibly realistic. It’s pretty incredible how the details surrounding the negative space of the sea to the left create a great sense of depth out of bare porcelain!
Four different detail views. Up close, we can see what the distance shot didn’t show: incredibly realistic detail work and beautiful line detail.
A three footed round pot painted in 5 colors. A lot of negative space to this piece. In the detail shot we can see Ikko’s highly detailed, figurative style.
We showed this pot in our post on Tsukinowa Yusen. A Yusen-Ikko collaborative pot. From the images above, it’s easy to see why I think this piece is very early work from Ikko, although very late pottery work from Yusen.
Another rectangle, this one painted in red with a blue band on top. We can see from this image a great sense of depth from the negative space on the left, and clear directionality to the pot.
Four distance detail views. In my opinion, a great painted pot should have a different directionality in either side, as this one does. In each image, we can see good use of both detail and negative space.
Four close up detail views. In these views, the impressive use of detail is most apparent. Truly beautiful brushwork to these scenes.
A pyracantha in an Ikko-Yusen collaboration pot. The orange berries and deep green leaves contrast well with the blue painting, another that looks to be early work from Ikko.
Three views of a 5 color overglaze enamel round with children. The details to the children are especially well rendered in vibrant 5 colors. Comparing this to the popular children’s motifs used by Ishida Shoseki, we can see that Ikko stands far above in painting skill!
Three views of a red painted, 3 footed round. The detailing to the figures and the trees in the landscape is especially nice, as is the boat in the third view.
A three footed round similar in shape to the one above, but the scene is entirely different. The figures in these scenes are the focus, and they are very well rendered and detailed.
A red painted collaborative pot between Ikko an Takao Koyo. This style of painted mokko shape is often referred to as “Isseki Style” for Isseki’s frequent use of the shape.
Takao Koyo stamp and Ikko signature with Turtle.
A cut foot rectangle with a very nice landscape scene.
3 detail views from the corners, and the base, showing Ikko’s animal signature, signed turmeric cloth, and box. In the details, we can see how incredibly well rendered and detailed both the figures and the landscape are! I think in images like this, it’s easy to see why Ikko’s style and incredible skill is often compared to Yusen.
Four views of an impressively detailed square. The figure crossing the bridge, and the landscape seen through the rain are my favorite details in this piece.
And we’ll finish up today with views all four sides of an impressively detailed 5 color rectangle. The use of white in the robes of the figures is interesting, I’m not sure I’ve seen this done often in overglaze. The scenes themselves, of Lao Tzu and his pupils reclining near a mountain stream, show great depth and realism, one can almost hear the waterfall!
Four detail views. From the details, you can see how incredibly realistic the figures are portrayed. The slight details to the water winding around the outcrop are lovely as well.
And the base, with Ikko’s signature animal. The stamp of the potter is under the body of the mouse, and it is “雅”-“Miyabi”.
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing these images from master contemporary painter Kutani Ikko! Thanks for reading, up next I’ll finish up the big three potters with a post on Heian Kozan!
A wonderful post.
Even the signature paintings on the underside are beautiful.
Thank you for posting.