Yokoyama, Taikan [横山大観] (1868–1958) By Loh Kazuhara, Eve
The name Yokoyama Taikan is synonymous with Nihonga (Japanese-style painting) and the Japan Art Institute [Nihon Bijutsuin, 日本美術院]. Taikan was among the first batch of students enrolled at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts in 1887 and was closely mentored by the school’s founder, Okakura Tenshin. When Tenshin left to establish the Japan Art Institute in 1898, Taikan followed, one member of an exodus of students from the school. His career became closely associated with the Institute, and in 1914, Taikan revitalized and re-organized the Institute, which had become inactive upon Tenshin’s passing.
Taikan is well known for his repertoire of works which include paintings of customs and manners [fûzoku-ga, 風俗画], historical figures, and landscapes. He is most well known for his paintings of Mount Fuji and the works Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers (1912) and The Wheel of Life (1923), which are classified as Important Cultural Properties. Throughout his life, Taikan continued to exhibit at almost every government-sponsored exhibition, in addition to those held by the Japan Art Institute. In 1937, Taikan was awarded the Order of Culture recognizing his achievement as a Nihonga artist.