American (born in Japan), 1889–1953
Ink on paper
21 7/8 x 27 7/8 in.
Wichita Art Museum, Roland P. Murdock Collection
Not Currently on Display
About the Artwork
The Japanese-born American artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi was among the most respected American artists of the 1920s and the 1940s. His imagery encompassed nature and fantasy and combined elements of realism and personal symbolism.
Quiet Pool was shown in October 1953, five months after the artist’s death, in an exhibit at the Downtown Gallery, New York. The exhibit included Kuniyoshi’s late ink paintings, an eloquent expression of the artist’s response to world conflict and personal sorrow. Downtown Gallery director Edith Halpert defined Quiet Pool and its companion pieces as ink “paintings” instead of drawings because of their reference to ancient Chinese and Japanese tradition in which images created by ink marks and washes were classified as painting. Halpert’s definition accords with the artist’s own statement, in 1940, of his intention “to combine the rich traditions of the East with my accumulative experiences and viewpoints of the West.”
This spare, monochromatic, and semi-abstract image of a dragonfly poised at the edge of a pool in a barren, angular landscape echoes both the character of Japanese Zen paintings in ink and the monochromatic imagery of contemporary American painters Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, and Robert Motherwell.
Quiet Pool was also one of the eight paintings executed by the artist at Woodstock in the summer of 1952, when he was suffering from the effects of cancer, which had not yet been diagnosed.