Sōtatsu is a beautifully designed volume celebrating the influential early seventeenth-century Japanese painter Tawaraya Sōtatsu. This book, the first Western survey of this important artist, accompanies the Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery exhibition of the same name.
Tawaraya Sōtatsu was a commoner who introduced traditional Japanese themes and subjects, formerly the sole purview of the aristocracy, to broader audiences. He painted these nationalistic images using a bold, expressive new design style. This characteristic style was further developed and enhanced when he founded the historic Rinpa school with calligrapher Hon'ami Kōetsu; Rinpa works are marked by dramatic, stylized renderings of traditional Japanese themes. Essays by leading scholars from the United States and Japan focus on Sōtatsu's well-known works; his collaboration with Kōetsu; his varied roles as shopkeeper, compiler, and court painter; and his influence over other artists, including Ogata Kōrin, Ogata Kenzan, Sakai Hōitsu, and Suzuki Kiitsu. The book also examines Freer Gallery of Art founder Charles Lang Freer's role in introducing Sōtatsu and Kōetsu to the Western world. Sōtatsu is a must-have book for museumgoers, Japanophiles, art lovers, and scholars.