Photo/IllutrationKonoshima Oukoku’s “Umayaji no Haru” at Fukuda Art Museum in Kyoto (Shunji Morimoto)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

KYOTO--A masterpiece featuring a tea house and horses by Japanese painter Konoshima Oukoku (1877-1938) will go on public display here for the first time in 78 years.

"Umayaji no Haru" (Spring of a main road), a painting made on a pair of byobu folding screens, will be shown at Fukuda Art Museum, which is scheduled to open in Kyoto in autumn.

Oukoku was known as an artist on par with other famous painters, such as Yokoyama Taikan and Takeuchi Seiho. However, he kept his distance from the painting community in the latter stages of his life.

The museum will open in the Arashiyama district in October, featuring the Fukuda Collection, about 1,500 artworks collected by Yoshitaka Fukuda, president of consumer finance company Aiful Corp.

Each of the folding screens on which Umayaji no Haru is painted consists of six panels. Each screen is 1.7 meters high and 3.75 meters wide.

A group of travelers resting at a tea house on a main road is drawn on the left screen, while a black horse and a white horse are depicted on the right screen.

The precious work was shown at the government-sponsored "Bunten" exhibition in 1913.

According to Oukoku Bunko, a public-interest foundation to preserve and show the painter's works and related materials, an individual bought the painting following the 1913 event.

In 1941, the painting was shown to the public at an exhibition held in memory of Oukoku, after which it was apparently resold to a different individual. In 2014, the work became part of the Fukuda Collection through an art dealer.

Umayaji no Haru will be displayed from Nov. 20 to Jan. 13 in the second session of the exhibition to celebrate the opening of Fukuda Art Museum.