Shimada Bokusen

Photo of the artist c. 1934

Shimada Bokusen 島田墨仙 (1867-1943)


Sources: A Dictionary of Japanese Artists: Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Prints, Lacquer, Laurance P. Roberts, Weatherhill, 1976, p. 147 and as footnoted.

Shimada Bokusen, born Shimada Toyo (Yutaka) 島田豊, was the son and pupil of Maruyama school painter Shimada Sekkoku (1828-1884), a retainer of the Fukui fief in Echizen. Bokusen was to go on to study with Hashimoto Gahō (1835-1908) a Kanō school painter who was instrumental in the development of a new type of national painting called nihonga. He was a member of the Nihon Bijutsuin (Japan Art Institute) and in 1925 became a committee member of the Teiten (Imperial Academy of Fine Arts). In 1942 he received the Imperial Art Academy Prize. He specialized in portraits of historical figures, working in a revived yamato-e style.

Shimada taught Japanese-style painting to several Western artists including Henry P. Bowie (1848-1920), author of On the Laws of Japanese Painting, and the well known painter and printmaker Lillian May Miller (1895-1943) who "greatly admired Bokusen for his support and his personality, writing, 'He's so keen and full of vitality, and yet so clean and quiet and sweet-natured.'"1

Several examples of the artist's Japanese color on silk paintings are shown below.

Other than this collection's two prints, I have not come across any other woodblock prints by the artist.

Portrait of Count Tanaka Seizan 

田中青山伯影像, 1928

147.5 x 71 cm

color on silk

Waseda Univesity Library

チ03 03535 0154

Portrait of Soko Yamaga, 1942

144.8×85.8 cm 

color on silk

The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo


Signatures and Seals of the Artist on Woodblock Prints

墨仙 Bokusen with 墨仙 Bokusen seal 

墨仙 Bokusen with 墨仙 Bokusen seal 

1 "Lilian Miller: An American Artist in Japan" by Kendall H. Brown appearing in Impressions, No. 27 (2005-2006), p. 82. 

last update:


3/29/2019 created

Prints in Collection

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