Red and White Poppies
Traditionally attributed to Tosa Mitsumochi (active 1525–ca. 1559)
Momoyama (1573–1615)– Edo (1615–1868) period
early 17th century
Six-panel folding screen; ink, color, and gold leaf on paper
65 3/4 x 147 1/2 in. (167.0 x 374.7 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Gift of Mrs. Dunbar W. Bostwick, John C. Wilmerding, J. Watson Webb Jr., Harry H. Webb, and Samuel B. Webb, 1962
The summer motif of red and white poppies arrayed across the gold-leafed surface of the screen is a decorative formula that developed during the seventeenth century and was taken up by various schools throughout the Edo period. An unusual feature of this painting is the pattern of family crests that decorates the lattice fence. The screen in the lower right corner bears an inscription by Ogata Kōrin (1658–1716) attributing the work to the court painter Tosa Mitsumochi, who died a century before the celebrated Rinpa artist was born. The attribution, however, is speculative, and based on its style, the work probably dates to the early seventeenth century. Nevertheless, the screen reveals the kind of court paintings that Kōrin, famous for formalized depictions of natural themes, had direct access to and would have studied.