Masterpiece Bonsai

Smoke

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Recently the word masterpiece has come up. It has been associated with bonsai here. I can't speak for others but when I hear the word masterpiece and it association with bonsai some very definate visual keys are awakened in my brain. Visual referances to trees I have seen in the past are remembered in my heart and will be there forever. Maybe this is what does it for me... my echo, my moving moment, my awakening of the soul so to speak.

I have seen many trees in the last 24 years that are considered masterpiece bonsai by some of the most revered artists of our time. Shinji Susuki, Kenji Miyata, Marco Invernizzi, Kunio Kobayashi, Boon Manikivitapart, Walter Pall, and Yaseo Mitsuya. I am sure there are many more but these few I have had personel exposure too in critiques and conversation.

Maybe exposure to trees of this caliber give someone a personality that does not come across well on the internet. Maybe some could call it arrogant, cockyness or just plain stubborn. Call it what you will but after you have been in the same room with a bonsai that for all intents and purposes is a masterpiece, you forever more look at bonsai differently. You see things posted on the web and people argueing for something that frankly is just not a good representation of bonsai.


So with that I propose a photo gallery of masterpiece bonsai. The rules are simple. Each member will post to this thread photo's of masterpiece bonsai. These can be as old a photo you have. These will be photo's that are the best trees you have ever seen. You are allowed five photo's since that is what the forum allows per post. Five only. The photo's must be your own from an event that you have visited and taken photo's of. They of course will not be our trees, or maybe some will who knows. The venue that the photograph came from must be listed with the photo as well as any other information if known. Things like species, artist, size or age. Trees obviously will be shown on a stand and to optimum imagery. No photo's of future bonsai please!

Not all will be able to participate due to where you live or discretionary funds for such activities. Maybe you don't own a camera or maybe you are not sure what a masterpiece tree looks like. That is part of this education process. Please do not post comments in the picture thread, try to reserve it for the beauty it contains. If comments are desireable then start a discussion thread about the masterpiece trees. This is not a contest. This is about seeing what is out there and who has seen what.
 
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Smoke

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The first tree is a Atlas cedar by Jim Gremel. The photo was taken at the Bay Island Bonsai exhibit in 2004. The tree was said to be Kokufu ready by Yaseo Mitsuya during the critique at the Redwood Empire exhibit that year. The tree is about 3 feet tall with a nearly 4 inch trunk.

Sierra Juniper by Frank Bardella. This photo was taken during the Redwood Empire exhibit in 2004. The tree is about 30 inches tall and breathtaking.

Mountain Hemlock. Unknown artist. Photo taken last year during the Bay Island Bonsai exhibit in 2007.The large trunk is about 2 1/2 inches thick and the tree stands appx. 36 inches tall.

Trident Maple. The artist is Lindsay Shiba. This photo was taken in 2007 while attending the 50th anniversary of the California Bonsai Society founded by John Naka and Frank Nagata.

Trident Maple over Stone. This maple taken at the Redwood Empire exhibit in 2004 conveys a perfect tree over stone. The ramification is not shown justice in a photograph.
 

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I do not believe many that have taken up the "masterpiece" argument have ever seen one in person, let alone have the skills to identify one. I will admit I have seen very, very few worthy of that title in person...

I have had the privilege of seeing masterpiece bonsai (in collections, not exhibits) in person from Washington, to Harvard, to Chicago, to Florida, and soon in New York and Italy. I have also seen hundreds in 2D from over 17 countries as an editor at AoB. I could even argue, as many did in the other thread, about which of these that Al posted are worthy of the title. But he chose to make this a silent thread, so I will respect that.

As for my pictures, they'll come eventually, most likely not here though, as the rules are too limiting. ;)


Will
 
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Smoke

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I wish to convey my sincerist thanks for keeping this about the trees and leaving all the negative disussion on another thread....NOT

I did not really expect to get many posters anyway...


Will, this is not about MASTERPIECE trees of the known world. This is about masterpiece trees that you could possibly have been exposed to in real life. If I just wanted to cherry pick some real masterpiece trees off of the internet I have about 12 disks full of trees. This thread is not about that. This is about what you have seen, what you have been exposed to, what you can learn by experienceing that witch is bonsai up close and personel.

Just post the best you have seen. This is very simple, don't go and try to make this hard. Please don't try and reinvent the wheel here. There is absolutely no way I can imagine the feeling of being in front of a tree by Sandro Segneri or Kimura. What could I learn from seeing the trees of Marc Noelanders, or Walter Pall for example. There is something to be said to stand in front of an example of masterpiece caliber bonsai and be able to see inside and feel the tree. With few exceptions most will have never seen the same trees I have seen. You can't possibly have seen nor felt what I felt about them. To be so bold as to question what I feel are the best trees I have ever seen is rather rude and pretentious.

This thread is not about trying to establish what makes a tree a masterpiece or defining that yours or anyones photo is better. It is all so subjective that it is not worth the bandwidth trying to debate it. It's just not that important.

If you feel this forum is to restrictive I would just as soon you keep your photo's and your comments to yourself and post them where you feel they best appropriate. Do not ruin my thread with one sided negativity and let those that wish to post show their photo's.



Cheers, Al
 

Gnome

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Al,

I have not been to many shows and only took photographs at one. Here are some of the better trees from the 2006 Pittsburgh bonsai show. These are a Scots Pine and a pair of Maples.

Norm
 

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After going through my personal photos, I find that there are few I would be willing to bestow that name on. I apologize for the quality of the photos, my equipment has improved considerably this year and next year's photos should be of much higher quality.

The first photo is a Sierra juniper, grafted with shimpaku many years ago, rescued and styled by Boon Manakitivipart. I have had the pleasure and honor to do some minor apprentice work on this tree. It's fairly large, around 48" tall, I think.

The second is a corkbark Chinese elm by Jim Gremel. (All of these were taken at one BIB show or another). This tree may be 8 inches tall and has the most natural, delicate ramification I have ever seen. This may be my all-time favorite tree. It is certainly my favorite to have seen in person.

The third is a semi-cascade Blue atlas cedar, also from a BIB show. I am sorry that I don't have the information on whose tree it is.
 

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Brent

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The Cedrus atlantic 'Glauca' in Chris's post is yet another Jim Gremel picture. I have seen it many times and have several photos of it. It is one of my all time favorite trees and also consider it a masterpiece. Al stole my thunder with Jim's upright Atlas cedar. I love that tree!

Brent
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see our blog at http://www.BonsaiNurseryman.typepad.com
 
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The Cedrus atlantic 'Glauca' in Chris's post is yet another Jim Gremel picture. I have seen it many times and have several photos of it. It is one of my all time favorite trees and also consider it a masterpiece. Al stole my thunder with Jim's upright Atlas cedar. I love that tree!

Brent
EvergreenGardenworks.com
see our blog at http://www.BonsaiNurseryman.typepad.com

Thanks, Brent. I suppose I knew that but in the ensuing years it's all gotten muddled.

Jim is an hero of mine. Super nice guy, makes his living in this business, and produces trees like that. I like that his trees sho no shortcuts or "magic techniques." The branches don't appear to be in the optimal places, they are. His trees show the patient work of years of careful growing, wiring, pruning, and grooming. He may have more personal masterpieces than anyone I have ever met. Here's a link to a detail of his elm that I posted. Magnificent.

http://www.bonsaikc.com/corkbarkelmram.jpg

In fact, here's the article I wrote in 2005 about that year's BIB exhibit. I hadn't looked at it in a while and it's worth seeing.

http://www.bonsaikc.com/BIB2005.htm
 

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For those who have not seen before some masterpiece from Taiwan.
 

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Bonsai Nut

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In my case, there is a gulf between bonsai that I have seen, and bonsai that I have taken decent photos of :) I happen to be a sucker for native trees, so here's a scrub oak from the last GSBF Convention.

 

johng

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Masterpiece Trees

Hello Al, Thanks for the opportunity to share some pics. Unfortunately, I was not able to narrow my choices down. I have posted a slideshow on my blog of some 60 odd trees that I have personally seen and photographed that I consider to be masterpieces. Sorry Al, I just couldn't limit myself:)

Here is a sampling from the slideshow...
A JBP styled by Mr. Kobayashi. If I am not mistaking this tree won the top prize at Taikan ten in 2000.


Here is another... a JBP cascade. This particular tree is also pictured on the cover of a book of Masterpiece Trees from Japan (I forget the exact title) and is nearly 5' from tip to tip.


John
 
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Hello Al, Thanks for the opportunity to share some pics. Unfortunately, I was not able to narrow my choices down. I have posted a slideshow on my blog of some 60 odd trees that I have personally seen and photographed that I consider to be masterpieces. Sorry Al, I just couldn't limit myself:)

Here is a sampling from the slideshow...
A JBP styled by Mr. Kobayashi. If I am not mistaking this tree won the top prize at Taikan ten in 2000.

Well sure, if you want to include "cookie-cutter" trees...;) ;) :D :eek: (please tell me you know I am just kidding...)
 

johng

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Well sure, if you want to include "cookie-cutter" trees...;) ;) :D :eek: (please tell me you know I am just kidding...)
Let me tell you though...seeing those trees does nothing for one's appreciation of their own collection. :(
 

chappy56

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Here are a few from the fall show in Chicago, some are part of the permanent collection at the Botanical Gardens.
 

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The first tree is a Atlas cedar by Jim Gremel. The photo was taken at the Bay Island Bonsai exhibit in 2004. The tree was said to be Kokufu ready by Yaseo Mitsuya during the critique at the Redwood Empire exhibit that year. The tree is about 3 feet tall with a nearly 4 inch trunk.

Sierra Juniper by Frank Bardella. This photo was taken during the Redwood Empire exhibit in 2004. The tree is about 30 inches tall and breathtaking.

Mountain Hemlock. Unknown artist. Photo taken last year during the Bay Island Bonsai exhibit in 2007.The large trunk is about 2 1/2 inches thick and the tree stands appx. 36 inches tall.

Trident Maple. The artist is Lindsay Shiba. This photo was taken in 2007 while attending the 50th anniversary of the California Bonsai Society founded by John Naka and Frank Nagata.

Trident Maple over Stone. This maple taken at the Redwood Empire exhibit in 2004 conveys a perfect tree over stone. The ramification is not shown justice in a photograph.

Al--the third tree, the mountain hemlock, is Scott Elser's. He is a student of Boon's and lives in Portland OR. I have seen the tree shown @ the Japanese Garden in Portland. I'm sure we'll see more of Scott's trees in the future.
 

Smoke

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Thanks Greg. Can I assume also that the Hemlock posted to BT in the link also belongs to Scott. It sure looks like a similar stand and pot. The styling looks similar also.
 
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Al--you are correct about this year's offering. Scott had it displayed for the study group we have last weekend. As I said--I think we'll be seeing more of Scott's trees in the future...
 

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Going through old threads again. Came across this one. A lot like my 5 favorite bonsai of all time. Let's see if we can't get this going.
Now, I've only been to 1 show in my life. But I saw what I think was a masterpiece. I know people will say it's because you need to get out more or because he is your friend but this tree in person is amazing.
Vance Woods quasi raft mugo.
Planning on maybe 2 shows this year. One in Grand Rapids and one in Detroit. Maybe I'll see more trees of masterpiece caliber.
 

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