“Uemura Shōen and Quintessential Bijinga, Paintings of Beautiful Women” at the Yamatane Museum of Art (29 August-22 October 2017)

“Uemura Shōen and Quintessential Bijinga, Paintings of Beautiful Women” at the Yamatane Museum of Art (29 August-22 October 2017)

Interview with Alice Gordenker by Eve Loh Kazuhara 

With special thanks to Minako Takahashi (Head Curator) and Yurie Noda (Press and Public Relations) of Yamatane Museum of Art

Uemura Shōen (1875–1949) was an enduring nihonga painter who had a successful career spanning the Meiji, Taishō and early Shōwa years. Specialising in a genre known as bijinga (paintings of beautiful women), Shōen wanted to portray women not only dressed in their finest, but to express beauty from the inside out, capturing grace and resilience of women.

From 29 August through to 22 October 2017, the Yamatane Museum of Art is showcasing 18 of Shōen’s paintings alongside 70 additional works by other famous artists.

In this interview, I speak to Tokyo-based journalist and translator Alice Gordenker, who on Sept. 22 will give a guided tour in English of the museum’s current exhibition, “Uemura Shōen and the Quintessential Bijinga, Paintings of Beautiful Women.”

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Next teaching in Paris August


Nihonga workshop 5 days. August 3/4/5/6

Level: Beginners accepted

Duration: 5 days. From 10 am till 6 pm (one hour meal break, 30 minute morning break)
Materials: pigments, animal glue (nikawa), silk cotton, frame, Japanese paper, Japanese brushes.
Level: accessible any levels
Global objective: through the knowledge of the traditional materials, and technical exercises, to acquire the bases of the  traditional Japanese painting (nihonga) .
Intermediate objective:
Create 2 pictures (21/29,5) from a proposed motif or one brought by the participant, and several small sizes (12 /14 cm – 4.75 x 5.5 in) for the exercises (8 processes)


Day 1 and day 2:
Presentation of the participants and their expectations with regard to the course.
Presentation of materials, supports, Technical tools:
Preparation of the glue (nikawa)

Preparation of the paper (washi)

Mounting of the paper on a panel

How to prepare pigments

Preparation of the gofun

Sketch and its transfer

Drawing with ink


Various stylistic processes:
Backgrounds and media effects
Bokashi (gradation)
Katabokashi (bleeding one side of a painted line)
Sotoguma (bleeding the outside lines of a painted area)
Tarashikomi (stain in wet ink)
Momigami (creased paper)
Moriage (Relief painting)
Metal leaf (Altered, 2 techniques of oxidation with sulfur)
Technique of mawabata: absorbent silk cotton / juice of kaki (Kakishibu) as stencil


Day 3 and Day 4
Creation of an average size by choosing among techniques proposed during the first two days.
At the end of the day, a projection of clips of documentary movies about the nihonga (artists in the work) will be proposed

Day 5
Experiment and western materials
Use of pigments and animal glue
Powders of French shell (Ostrecal)

Gesso and relief

Collage technique

Nihonga on wood

Duration: 35 hours

Cost: 5 day workshop 500 euros, or 100 euros per day + 30 euros annual membership

N.B.: the program can be adapted according to the schedule (workshop from 1 to 5 days)

For more information, please contact: 0609390742



Workshop views

Valérie Eguchi is French.
Painter trained in the traditional techniques of ornamental paint in 1987, she travelled repeatedly in Japan, where she discovered the practice of the Japanese paint Nihonga .

She was trained in 2007 with Yiching Chen at her “Pigments et Arts du Monde” association.

At the end of 3 years of studies and practice, fascinated by this mode of expression, she passes on her discoveries by means of initiations and by demonstrations.

Lieu: AGORA (maison des associations)

18 rue Aristide Briand à Issy les Moulineaux

A 5mn de la Station Tram T2 “Les Moulineaux”

(A 11mn de la Porte de Versailles à PARIS)

Best accomodation:

Hotel Ibis


Japanese painting (nihonga) classes in Paris

Learn nihonga with Valérie Eguchi

With Nihonga, I suggest discovering the feel of the material, and the play of the shines and matte effects due to the brightness of the crystals in the pigments, metallic sheets and oxidations.
In Japanese painting all the materials are prepared by the artist.
Once a basic sketch is completed, individual pigments are mixed with some water and Nikawa on a small dish.
Nihonga gives us a sense of inner peace and brings us outside of our day-to-day urgencies.
We are able to do this because of the time taken to prepare for each painting. It is also a time of necessary reflection for every element entering the composition of the picture.
These initiations into Nihonga take place under the guidance of the instructor through workshops, or regular courses in Paris, and in Issy les Moulineaux (sud Paris )
The workshops take place in a quiet environment, in which each participant receives equal attention and is able to share the knowledge imparted by the instructor.

2016 Dates

Weekend 2 days:
January: 9/10

Fébruary: 6/7

March: 12/13

April: 9/10

May: 21/22

June: 21/22

With Nihonga today, artists compete using elements of craft and creativity to create new effects.
Shinji Matsumura, a japanese painter, Shu-Chen a Taïwanese painter, used those effects for some of their creations..

Discover the effects of silk cotton applied to metal leaf
We use some silk cotton which we stretch on a chassis, to create a natural cotton lace.
This lace is solidified with the kakeshi boeshi (juice of fermented khaki otherwise known as persimmon).
The lace then serves as a stencil through which we shall fix pigments, metallic powders or metallic sheets.
Models are then proposed to realize a small picture
Places are limited to 5 persons
Different effects:

Shu-Chen present this technic in a video
For more information, please contact: 0609390742


Happy New Year!


I wish you a happy sheep year!!

2015 is the Year of the Green Wooden Sheep. (Hitsujidoshi – 未年)

Here are the new dates for nihonga workshops at the gates of Paris


Janvier: 17/18/19/20

Février: 14/15

Mars: 14/15

Avril: 11/12/13/14

Mai: 16/17

juin: 6/7

Détails:  www.pigmentsetartsdumonde.com