Description John La Farge traveled to Japan and the South Seas with the historian Henry Adams in the 1880s. During a six-week stay in Japan, La Farge stayed in Nikko, a Tokugwana mortunary temple town 145 kilometers nothwest of Tokyo, at the homes of Boston "japanophiles" and recent converts to Buddhism, William Sturgis Bigelow and Ernest Francisco Fenollosa. On this trip, La Farge painted this watercolor, showing the mortuary gateway, leading into the temple complex of Emperor Iyeyasu (1543-1616). This is one of the few works La Farge brought to completion on the trip; the majority of works with Nikko subject matter were completed between 1887 and 1889 when he was reworking his journals and preparing illustrations for travel articles published in "Century Magazine" between 1890 and 1893. However, he may have used a photograph purchased by Adams as a memory-aid in completing this work (see James L. Yarnall, "Recreation and Idleness: The Pacific Travels of John La Farge," 1998, p. 25, fig. 34).
Provenance Macbeth Galleries [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1907, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Signature] lower right: LA FARGE NIKKO AUGUST 1886
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1907
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