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Reference » Ukiyo-e »  Artists Biographies

Keinen Imao 1845-1924

Keinen was a traditional Shijo style painter from Kyoto. He was taught woodblock prints by his master Umekawa, Toi at the age of 11, later he learned Shijo Maruyama paintings by Suzuki Hyakunen (1825-1891), who gave him the artist name ‘Keinen’.

In 1875 along with western painter, Tamura Soryu (1846-1819), Keinen received an award at Kyoto Art Fair and again won another competition in 1877.

Keinen earned lasting fame in 1891 for publishing a set of four volumes of bird and flower (kacho-ga) albums. It was divided by four seasons with a depiction of each bird and flower with lifelike detail, having received instruction by natural historian Yamamoto, Akio. The series was published by Nishimura Soemon in four volumes of forty prints each, carved by Tanaka Hirokichi and printed by Miki Jinzaburo.

Keinen continued to gain reputation by accepting numerous art prizes.  In 1904 as one of the most well-known Japanese painters of his time, Keinen obtained the great honours of becoming a member of the Art Committee of the Imperial Household and the Imperial Art Academy in 1919. He also taught at the Kyoto Prefecture School of Painting, and exhibited in Japan and Paris.