Do You Know Who Painted these Tigers?
My pair of wonderful Japanese paintings on Silk.
Three Tigers, two on one, and a magnificent male on the other.
They stalk you right out of a bamboo jungle.
Though perhaps they will not eat you. Right away.
First Image, the pair of silk paintings together: (These will be ‘LightBoxed’, so just click on the thumbnail and a lightbox will popup. Then click on either side of image to go forward or back, or scroll down to bottom to close. These are Large Graphics for detail-might take a long time to load.)
I posted these photos of my pair of Japanese Silk Paintings to assist in identifying the artist.
What we know so far:
- Purchased in 1965 from a dealer on Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, California.
- Soldier brought them back from Japan after WWII.
- The pair are on silk panels, with real gold paint, size 18 inches by 56 inches. ( 45.72 cm x 142.24 cm)
- The silk panels were originally mounted on paper scrolls, which fell apart from age. They are now unmounted.
- Two opinions from ‘Antique Experts’:
- Early 1900’s, by either “Kazan”, or “The Artist who Paints Tigers”, approximate value in 1999 – $4,500 to $5,500.
- The silk pattern on the photos of the signatures is a type of silk made after 1920.
- The ‘chop’ or the hanko is ‘Yokoyama Kazan’, but it is unlikely that he was the actual artist.
- Comparison of the artists styles mentioned above does not match the style of these paintings.
- So, it is possible that these were actually painted by an artist in post-WWII Japan, with the use of the signatures to boost the value of the paintings in those hard times.
Please DON’T recommend I contact a museum, gallery or an auction house to ask one of their experts about the paintings, or to help me identify the artist. None of them have responded to my repeated requests for assistance. I believe it is beyond their capability.
My LinkedIn connection, David Lucas, has helped me identify the signature as “Kazan”, but shares my opinion that that artist could not have painted these. He suggested I ask the LinkedIn network to assist us in solving this intriguing mystery. As he wrote me:
Although the hanko is Yokoyama Kazan, it is unlikely to be his painting for a few reasons. First and foremost it is a war-era work, possibly post-war, and too many painters copied these paintings and styles, especially to sell to American soldiers. Signatures and hanko were also copied liberally.
I don’t mean cheap whipped-out copies, but serious painters from great schools who did these copies to make a living post-war, some of whom studied with the masters from the late 1800’s and were still working post-WW2.
They’re still worth good money as excellent paintings, but they’re murder to attribute to anyone accurately.
You present an intriguing mystery, though, and everyone loves a mystery!
Put out a public question on LinkedIn–‘Are there any East Asian art experts on LinkedIn?’ And post the photo in a link to your question, and see what we get.
Keep me posted, I’m addicted already.
The pair of paintings are truly magnificent. I do need to raise funds right now, and any assistance in identifying the artist will help me get them valued by providing the missing provenance.
I believe only Japanese will be able to do this. So any Japanese LinkedIns please examine these images closely, ask your parents or grandparents if they recognize the artist’s style. That will probably be the only way to identify the artist at this point.
Another possibillty would be if someone has a similar painting in their collection, with possibly a better idea of who the artist was. But the styles have to come very close, and so far none have been found, in any gallery or museum online, so far. I have done extensive searches online as well as in books on art collections in libraries.
Why no experts from museums, auction houses or galleries have responded to my queries?
David’s comment may explain: “They’re still worth good money as excellent paintings, but they’re murder to attribute to anyone accurately.”
I invite you to join us in the Hunt to solve the Mystery of the Japanese Silk Tigers.
But I repeat: Don’t refer me to auction house, galleries, or museums unless you know an expert there actually from Japan who is Japanese to recommend.
I HAVE ALREADY BEEN THERE, done that, searched and queried every one that deals in Oriental Art. I even fruitlessly scoured the Chinese museums and galleries for a possible Chinese artist, etc., since the style and the signatures share similarities.
So Please. Don’t waste our time, yours or mine.
You can contact me through LinkedIn, or leave a comment here. To comment on this blog does require registration with a real email address, but your email address will not be revealed on this blog.
I hope you enjoy these Japanese Silk Tigers as much as I have. We used to have them in a small library with a red light on them at night. They looked like they were coming right at you out of a bamboo jungle.