Shoen Uemura was a rarity — one of the few Japanese female artists who worked in a traditional style and found recognition and acclaim. “The Shoen Uemura Retrospective,” an exhibition showing at the Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum (then moving to the Utsunomiya Museum in Tochigi Prefecture later this month), brings together a comprehensive body of works loaned by more than 40 museums, galleries and private collections across Japan. It provides a welcome look at an unusual artist.

Uemura was born in 1875 into a comfortable, middle-class Kyoto family. Her father died before she was born, leaving both Uemura and the family tea shop in her mother’s care. As a girl, Uemura filled her hours by drawing, and she soon gained a reputation as a prodigy among the shop’s customers.

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