Kusakabe Kimbei, Inside a Japanese bedroom

Kusakabe Kimbei (1841-1934), "Inside a Japanese bedroom", circa 1860, coloured albumen print, 91x135 mm, inv. VE Albo Candeo 1/39

A painter and colourist employed at the photographic studio opened by Felice Beato in Yokohama, Kusakabe also worked as an assistant to Baron Raimund von Stillfried. In 1881 he opened his own studio, contributing to the prestige that the “Yokohama School” was gaining among foreign travellers. Merging the art of the reportage and the cityscape, learnt from Beato, with the psychological approach to portraiture that he acquired in his work with Stillfried, Kusakabe became one of the most admired photographers in Japan, producing a vast archive of images of the country. The distinguishing feature of his work is the exceptional quality of his hand colouring, characterised by a broad chromatic range and particular density of colour. This photograph belongs to a rich repertoire of study portraits collected by Kusakabe throughout his career.