Artists of different worlds and times with a common focus on innovation
Two major exhibitions open this week from artists of different centuries and hemispheres whose innovative styles set them apart. Each was modestly born — one in New Jersey, the other in Kyoto — but rose to become sophisticated leaders of their art forms, mingling with top artists and aristocrats of their days, blending
exquisite touches and simple designs. Much more is known about the 20thcentury American photographer Irving Penn than the 17thcentury Japanese artist Sotatsu. If not quite a household name, Penn’s work is more familiar, if only because his most celebrated subject matters, — fashion and celebrity — are still so lauded by contemporary audiences, while
even serious art lovers may just be learning about Sotatsu. The two, however, stand up to comparison.
TOP: Poems from the Kokinshu Anthology are illustrated by Sotatsu, a 17-century Japanese artist. ABOVE: Irving Penn’s “Mouth (for L’Oreal)” and “Truman Capote” are examples of the artist’s fashion photography and sophisticated portraits that graced magazine spreads such as Vogue.