Kobayashi Kokei was profoundly influenced by the 1913 Sōtatsu exhibition in Tokyo and was one of the few artists invited to study original paintings by Sōtatsu, Kōrin, and other Rinpa masters in the Hara Sankei (1868–1939) collection. His peers Maeda Seison (1885–1977) and Yasuda Yukihiko (1884–1978), who also visited Hara’s collection, were champions of Sōtatsu, whose works greatly influenced many modern nihonga artists. Kokei saw the beauty depicted in classical works. However, his approach was utterly different from that of his contemporaries, particularly in his adaptations of Sōtatsu’s ink-painting styles.
Puppy demonstrates a careful understanding of the tarashikomi pooling effect and clear outlining, recalling Sōtatsu’s favored horinuri technique, which paid homage to the structural line. Rather than using bold pattern and vibrant color, Kokei strived to capture Sōtatsu’s graceful restraint.
Kobayashi Kokei (1883–1957)
Ink and colors on paper