Fukuda Heihachirō trained in Kyoto under the renowned Takeuchi Seihō (1864–1942) and other prominent painters. His stylistic development took many turns and included a devotion to realism in the 1910s and ’20s. In later years, still sketching from real life, he moved to a flattened, pure-form decorative style. He acknowledged that his concepts flowed from the masters Sōtatsu and Kōrin.
These irises are a clear homage to a famous painting by Kōrin. However, the pull of realism is strong. The careful, individualized attention paid to the blossoms and leaves, each one delicately rendered, mixes Rinpa-style patterning with the techniques of exquisite observation.
Late in life Heihachirō observed, “In most cases, because of my faith in reality, I move with the aim to penetrate the real; however, because I love Kōrin and Sōtatsu, I somehow get involved in decorative art. I reflected on this tendency day and night, and I realized that whether I have become decorative or realist does not matter to me. The problem is the content.”
Fukuda Heihachirō (1892–1974)
Color on silk
National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, J00067