Keiseki Hirotsu is a giant in Western suiseki, yet not many know his name or his accomplishments. Although I wrote about him in my book, not many remember who he was. He was born in 1903 in Japan and he died in California in 1987. He immigrated to the USA after completing his formal education.
In the 1950s he visited Japan on vacation and there he saw suiseki for the first time. He returned to the USA fired up and began a life long pursuit of the elusive stone jewels. He, with a friend, were the first to explore what were to become suiseki collecting treasures from Central to Northern California. These legendary rivers and streams have been visited by many international collectors, including Japanese from Japan! Hirotsu-Sensei was the aesthetic head of the two most famous and oldest Japanese suiseki clubs in the West. Located in the San Francisco Bay area, the Kashu Suiseki Kai, in Palo Alto has been in existence for over 40 years, and the San Francisco Suiseki Kai, over 22 years old. It was through a meeting with him that I joined the San Francisco club in 1984.
Through his guidance, I and many others, learned the refined points of this fascinating art form. He was tough in his critiques, but it was a solid grounding that has served me well. Hirotsu-Sensei exhibited his suiseki in Japan numerous times.
I have included this page on my web site both to give pleasure to fellow artists, and also to educate those in the Western Hemisphere that would like to know the history of suiseki in this country, and Northern California, in particular, where it all started outside of Japan. Part of enjoying the art is understanding and appreciating its origins both in Japan and here. Sadly, many collectors know about Japan's contributions, but little about its Western origins. I see it as a form of reverse snobbishness. It's an honor to pay tribute to a dedicated artist and what he generously shared with many of us.
It should be realized that you're looking at photos of suiseki collected as early as the 1950s. These stones are the oldest collected in the Western Hemisphere.
Enjoy the images!