Sunday, 12 October 2014

Katsushika Hokusai – part 1


Katsushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849) was a Japanese ukiyo-e (pictures of the floating world) painter and printmaker and painter, born in Edo (now Tokyo), and is best known for his woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji c. 1830-35 which includes the internationally recognised print The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

Between the ages of 14 and 18 Hokusai was an apprentice wood-carver, whereupon he was accepted into the studio of Katsukawa Shunsho which focused on images of the courtesans and Kabuki actors who were popular in Japan’s cities at the time. After a year Hokusai changed his name for the first time, when he was dubbed Shunro by his master. It was under this name that he published his first prints, a series on Kabuki actors.

On the death of Shinsho in 1793, Hokusai began exploring other styles of art, including European styles he was exposed to through French and Dutch copper engravings. He was soon expelled from the Katsukawa school by Shunko, the chief disciple of Shunso, possibly due to his studies at the rival Kano school. This event was, in his own words, inspirational: “What really motivated the development of my artistic style was the embarrassment I suffered at Shunko’s hands.”

Hokusai also changed the subjects of his works, moving away from the images of courtesans and actors that were traditional subjects of ukiyo-e. Instead, his work became focused on landscapes and images of the daily life of Japanese people from a variety of social levels. This change of subject was a breakthrough in ukiyo-e and in Hokusai’s career.

The next period saw Hokusai’s association with the Tarwaraya School and the adoption of the name “Tawaraya Sori.” He produced many brush paintings and illustrations for Kyoka Eho (illustrated book of humourous poems) during this time. In 1798 he passed his name on to a pupil and set out as an independent artist, free from ties to a school for the first time, adopting the name Hokusai Tomisa.

By 1800 Hokusai was further developing his use of ukiyo-e for purposes other than portraiture. He also adopted the name he would most widely be known by, Katsushika Hokusai, the former name referring to the part of Edo where he was born and the latter meaning “North Studio.”

He became increasingly famous over the next decade, both due to his artwork and his talent for self-promotion. In 1811 at the age of 51 he changed his name to “Taito” and entered the period in which he created the Hokusai Manga and various art manuals (Etehon). Together, his twelve volumes of manga published before 1820 and three more published posthumously include thousands of drawings of animals, religious figures, and everyday people. They often have humourous overtones, and were very popular at the time.

In 1820 Hokusai changed his name yet again, this time to “Litsu,” a change that marked the start of a period in which he secured fame as an artist throughout Japan. It was during the 1820’s that Hokusai reached the peak of his career. His most famous work, Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, including the famous Great Wave off the Coast of Kanagawa, dated from this period.

1830-31c The Great Wave (In the Hollow of a Wave off the Coast at Kanagawa colour woodcut 25.5 x 38 cm
It proved so popular that Hokusai later added ten more prints to the series. Among the other popular series of prints published during this time are A Tour of Waterfalls in Various Provinces and Remarkable Views of Bridges in Various Provinces. He also began producing a number of detailed individual images of flowers and birds.

The next period, beginning in 1834, saw Hokusai working under the name “Gakyo Rojin Manji” (The Old Man Mad about Art). It was at this time that he produced another significant landscape series One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji.

1n 1839 disaster struck as a fire destroyed Hokusai’s studio and much of his work. By this time his career was beginning to wane, as younger artists such as Ando Hiroshige became increasingly popular. But Hokusai never stopped painting, and completed Ducks in a Stream at the age of 87.

1847 Ducks in a Stream hanging scroll. ink and colours on silk 111 x 40 cm


Katsushika Hokusai died in 1849.
Biographical notes on Katsushika Hokusai adapted from Wikipedia

This is part 1 of a 19 - part post on the works Katsushika Hokusai. A lot of postings (a lot of research), so I will try to post every other day.

1780 -1796 Actors

1780 Actor Segawa Kikunojô III as the Courtesan Otsuma colour woodblock print 29.8 x 13.2 cm

1784 Actor Segawa Kikunojô as the Courtesan Otsuma colour woodblock print 29 x 13.8 cm

1786c Actor Segawa Kikunojo III as a Woman of a Samurai Family colour woodblock print 30.8 x 14.5 cm Art Institute of Chicago, IL

1788 Actor Segawa Kikunojô III as Osome colour woodblock print 29.8 x 13 cm

1789 Actor Ichikawa Komazô III as Shimobe Danzaburô colour woodblock print 27 x 12 cm

1789 Actor Osagawa Tsuneyo II as Tsukisayo colour woodblock print 27 x 11.8 cm

1789 Actors Ichikawa Monnosuke II as Akaneya Hanshichi and Yamashita Mangiku as Sankatsu colour woodblock print 27.9 x 13.2 cm

1789 Actors Sawamura Sôjûrô as Soga no Jûrô and Iwai Hanshirô colour woodblock print 27.6 x 12.7 cm

1790 Actor Onoe Matsusuke I as the Sumô Wrestler Ushigase colour woodblock print 27 x 12 cm

1790c Actor Ichikawa Danjûrô V as Narukami Shônin colour woodblock print 30..5 x 14.6 cm Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1790c Actors Arashi Ryûzô II and Sawamura Sôjûrô woodblock print 25.5 x 11.5 cm

1791 Actor Ichikawa Komazô II as Shirai Gonpachi colour woodblock print 31.8 x 13.7 cm

1791 Actors Osagawa Tsuneyo II as Tsukisayo and Matsumoto Kôshirô IV as Kudô colour woodblock print 30 x 13.2 cm

1791 An Actor of Woman's Roles colour woodblock print 30.8 x 13.5 cm Art Institute of Chicago, IL

1791 The Actors Ichikawa Ebizo IV and Sakata Hangoro II colour woodblock prints 31.4 x 13.5 each British Museum, London

1791c Actor Ichikawa Omezô I as the Shamaness colour woodblock print 31.8 x 14.3 cm

1792 Actor Ichikawa Ebizô as Kagekiyo colour woodblock print 30 x 13.7 cm

1792 Actor Ichikawa Monnosuke II as Soga no Jûrô Sukenari colour woodblock print 27 x 12.1 cm

1792 Actor Sakata Hangorô III as Akazawa Jûnai colour woodblock print 28.9 x 13 cm

1792 Actor Segawa Kikunojô III as Sadaka colour woodblock print 26.8 x 12.5 cm

1792-93c Ichikawa Danjuro VI colour woodblock print 31.6 x 14.2 cm Art Institute of Chicago, IL

1796 The Actor Nakamura Noshio II, in Female Role, Holding a Shakuhachi (Bamboo Flute) colour woodblock print 29.8 x 13.3 cm Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1796c Matsumoto Koshiro IV as Tsurifune no Sabu colour woodblock print 27.3 x 14.6 cm Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Actor Iwai Hanshirô IV as Tonase colour woodblock print 29.2 x 12.9 cm

Actor Sawamura Sôjûrô as Shigetada colour woodblock print Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA

Actor Yamashita Kin saku as a Tea House Waitress colour woodblock print Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA

*      *      *

1780s Perspective Picture of the Downhill Attack at the Battle of Ichinotani colour woodblock print 25.5 x 38.2 cm

1781-89 A Perspective View: The Two Deva Kings Gate of Kinryuzan Temple colour woodblock print 25.6 x 37.8 cm Art Institute of Chicago, IL

1786 Inside the Courtyard of the Toeizan Temple at Ueno colour woodblock print 24.1 x 37.5 cm Brooklyn Museum, New York

1790c Newly Published Perspective Picture: One Hundred Ghost Stories in a Haunted House colour woodblock print 23.7 x 35.4 cm

1781-89 Descending Geese for Bunshichi, from the series "Eight Views of Elegant Gallants" colour woodblock print 22 x 16.2 cm Art Institute of Chicago, IL

1783-84 The Sumo wrestlers Uzugafuchi Kandayu and Takasaki Ichijuro colour woodblock print 32.7 x 22.5 cm Art Institute of Chicago, IL

1785c Chinese Boys Learning to Write and Paint colour woodblock print 39.1 x 25.7 cm Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1790-93c A Wrestling Match colour woodblock print 30.6 x 12.9 cm Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1790-1800c Still Life of Two Flat Fish and a Branch of Plum Blossom colour woodblock print Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

1790c Flower Thief colour woodblock print 21 x 15.4 cm Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota

1790c Offering Pails of Water colour wodblock print 21.1 x 15.3 cm Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota

1790c Staff-Waving Dance colour woodblock print 21.1 x 15.3 cm Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota

1790c The Day Before the Beginning of Spring colour woodblock print 21.2 x 15.3 cm Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota

1790c Woman Spinning Silk hanging scroll: ink and colour on silk 85.1 x 31.1 cm Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1794-1804c Supplies for the Tea Ceremony colour woodblock print Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

1795-98c People Traveling on Ferry Boat colour woodblock print 21.1 x 31.5 cm Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA

1795-1812c Iris, Hydrangea, Pinks, and Chrysanthemums colour woodblock print 19.6 x 51.6 cm

1795c Spring in the Rice Fields colour woodblock print 25.4 x 39.4 cm Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1796c Fujieda Station on the Tokaido colour woodblock print Art Institute of Chicago, IL

1796c The Ninth-Month Kabuki Dance "Kikujido" colour woodblock print 21.6 x 15.2 cm Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1797 Peasants by a Stream colour woodblock print 21.4 x 31.8 cm British Museum, London

1797 Sparrows on Millstones with Hagi Bushes colour woodblock print 40 x 55.8 cm Art Institute of Chicago, IL

1797 The Poet Jôsuitei Shitami colour woodblock print Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

1797 Three Ladies in a Boat from the album "The Elegance of Spring" colour woodblock print 16.7 x 39.2 cm

1797 View of Mount Fuji woodblock print Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

1797 Women on the Beach at Enoshima from the album "The Threads of the Willow" colour woodblock print 25.4 x 38 cm The British Museum, London

1797-1806c Parrot on a Perch with Two other Ornamental Birds and a Poem colour woodblock print British Musem, London

1798 A Netsuke Workshop colour woodblock print 22 x 31.5 cm Art Institute of Chicago, IL

1798 A Woman Washing and a Woman Reading a Book colour woodblock print Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

1798 Crossing a Bridge, from the album "Men's Stamping Dance" colour woodblock print 21.4 x 36.4 cm

1798 The Six States of Woman (Six Courtesans Representing Six Poets) colour woodblock print 19.2 x 25.5 cm Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA

1798-99 Cherry's Elder Brother colour woodblock print 20.2 x 14 cm

1798-99c Flower Ball and Bamboo Blind colour woodblock print 20.7 x 55.8 cm

1798 - 1810c Six Immortal Poets

1798c The poet Ariwara no Narihira, from the series "Six Immortal Poets" colour woodblock print 37.5 x 25.5 cm

1810c The poet Bunya no Yasuhide, from the series "Six Immortal Poets" colour woodblock print

1810c The poet Kisen Hoshi, from the series "Six Immortal Poets" colour woodblock print 38.8 x 25.8 cm

1810c The poet Otomo no Kuronushi, from the series "Six Immortal Poets" colour woodblock print 37.7 x 25.3 cm

1810c The poet Sojo Henjo, from the series "Six Immortal Poets" colour woodblock print 37.1 x 25.2 cm

1810c The poetess Ono no Komachi, from the series "Six Immortal Poets" colour woodblock print 38.8 x 26.4 cm


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