Nanako Yamada

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Merritt, Helen

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Art


Uemura; Shōen; 1875-1949; Nō plays in art; Painting; Japanese--1868-


Uemura Shōen (1875-1949) was the greatest female artist working in modern Japanese-style painting during the first half of the twentieth century. She was highly regarded and her works are kept in the major museums in Japan. However, she is totally unknown in the United States of America, and there is no detailed reference in English about her and about her works. In Chapters I and II, the status of Japanese painting society during her life is described. In Chapter III, Shōen's biography is mentioned. In Chapter IV, Shōen's artistic development is discussed in the following periods: her debut, early mature period, middle period, mature period, and late period. Then in Chapter V, with special attention to the nō drama theme paintings, this thesis addresses the hypothesis about Shōen's experience in learning the nō method of singing. This experience prompted her to modify the form of her paintings by softening lines, by limiting colors, and by relying less on observation and paintings from the past. In conclusion, it is shown how Shōen absorbed the refinement of nō, and went beyond nō to express the purified essence of beauty, which is associated with the aesthetic beauty of shibui. the ultimate characteristic of Oriental art.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 111-128)


vii, 225 pages




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