Sato Sakura Gallery Presents “Summer Gems”

A gallery collaboration between Wilensky and Sato Sakura, the line between natural minerals and fine art merge to celebrate Japanese masterpieces in New York.

Art is inspired by nature, often elevated to greatness by its adaptation and heightened aesthetic. Nihonga creates from nature, using natural mineral pigments as the base for painting—part of a longstanding artistic tradition. Coming from a practice that is thousands of years old, with evidence remaining at sites such as Lascaux and Altamira, Nihonga embraces nature-derived color, transforming minerals onto materials such as washi (Japanese paper) and eginu (silk). “Summer Gems” juxtaposes paintings by Nihonga artists alongside many of the world’s finest mineral specimens, in conjunction with Wilensky. The resulting duality of minerals alongside paintings is a celebration of contrasting color, light, balance, and composition.

Stuart Wilensky, President at Wilensky says, “Wilensky Gallery solely displays nature’s art, the finest examples of mineral specimens from around the world. It was serendipitous that we opened our gallery next door to the Sato Sakura Gallery, which exclusively displays the Japanese art of Nihonga painting. As our friendship developed, we both realized the connection between our natural mineral specimens and their Nihonga paintings. We are very honored to be part of a joint exhibition; a crossover concept of nature and art made for a natural and distinctive pairing. Aesthetic mineral specimens are displayed with Nihonga paintings, the same material with which the artists have created their pigments. This exhibit will show how the natural colors of mineral specimens link with the rich vibrant colors used by Nihonga artists. To be able to actually see a perfect electric blue Azurite crystal next to its visual representation and transformation to a compelling work of art is a unique experience, one that can only be had by a visit to this exhibit at the Sato Sakura Gallery.”

Although oils and acrylics eventually reigned in popularity and convenience, Nihonga has remained a steady, distinguished fine artistic expression in Japan throughout the centuries. A term and concept created in response to Western painting, beginning during the Meiji period, the word Nihonga itself refers to both traditional Japanese painting, and new styles that incorporate Western painting methods within Japanese traditions. The concept includes paintings on substrates like paper and silk, as well as coloring materials, such as mineral and soil pigments.

Gemstone-derived pigments pop with their electric, natural base, mesmerizing with vibrancy. Bespoke artworks echo the rarity of their mineral inception. The intertwined relationship of fine art and nature is explored, giving viewers a next-level view of natural components in the creative process.

Featuring fourteen masterpiece Nihonga paintings, and five mineral specimens, “Summer Gems,” runs from July 11th through September 28th, 2019, Tuesday through Saturday, from 11:00 AM-6:00 PM at the Sato Sakura Gallery at 501 West 20th Street, New York, NY, 10011. The opening reception for “Summer Gems” will be held on July 11th, from 5:30-7:30 PM at Sato Sakura Gallery. For Nihonga inquiries or, for questions regarding the artists exhibited, use the gallery’s online contact form, call 212-741-2120, or visit For fine mineral inquiries or sales, contact Wilensky directly at, 646-822-0837, or visit

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