About this artwork

The rich surface patterns and sparkling appearance of the beautiful geisha girl illustrate Henry's deft brushwork. Her elaborately dressed hair, embroidered kimono and fan, seen against a patterned screen and stylized representation of Mount Fuji, contribute to the painting's decorative character. Interest in such themes was stimulated in Glasgow by an exhibition of Oriental art held in the city in 1882. Unfortunately, many of Henry's canvases painted during his visit to Japan, financed by the shipping magnate William Burrell and the picture dealer Alexander Reid, were ruined on the return voyage. However, his experiences inspired a number of fine paintings, such as this one.

George Henry

George Henry

Henry's paintings include depictions of striking landscapes, symbolic folk tales, Japanese themes and society portraits. Born in Ayrshire, he studied at the Glasgow School of Art and joined the circle of painters known as the Glasgow Boys. His friendship with Edward Atkinson Hornel led to some collaborative work and they were among the first British artists to visit Japan, traveling there together in 1893. On their return in 1895 Henry's compositions reflected the impact of this visit but he concentrated on the more lucrative painting of portraits and established a successful studio in London.

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