Tanaka Ryōhei (b. 1933)
Ginkgo Tree in Koshihata
(Koshihata no ginan), 2004
11 1/4 x 7 5/8 inches (28.6 x 19.4 cm)
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of Robin Austin in honor of Gary Wescott, 2012
A massive ginkgo tree’s vibrant yellow-gold leaves fill the background of this autumn scene, nearly eclipsing the sturdy farmhouse and small pine tree below. The vertical orientation of the print and the sharp, low-point perspective heighten the ginkgo tree’s presence and call attention to the decaying, brown leaves on the ground. Tanaka Ryōhei participates in the long tradition of Japanese artists celebrating the beauty and brevity of the seasons. Here, the gingko tree inventively functions as a seasonal marker for autumn and gives the composition a brilliant gold background.