Japanese Artist Kitagawa Utamaro Vintage Woodblock Print

  • Model: 2221
  • Shipping Weight: 0.02lbs
  • 1 Units in Stock

$25.00

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Vintage Original Reproduction Woodblock Print
Japanese Artist Kitagawa Utamaro
Print Size: 14 1/2" x 9"
Size with Border: 15" x 10 1/2"
"Bijin Combing Her Hair" Tea Time Collection
Very Good Condition
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Background information on the Artist:

He was born in either Edo (Tokyo), Kyoto, or Osaka (the three main cities of Japan) in around 1753. His original name was Kitagawa Ichitaro.

He became a pupil of the painter Toriyama Sekien while he was still a child.

Utamaro, in common with other Japanese of the time, changed his name as he became mature, Ichitaro Yusuke as he became older.

His first major professional artistic work, at the age of 22, in 1775, was a cover for a Kabuki playbook, under the gō (art-name) of Toyoaki. He then produced a number of actor and warrior prints, along with theatre programmes, and other such material. From the spring of 1781, he switched his name to Utamaro, and started painting and designing fairly forgettable woodblock prints of women.

At some point in the middle 1780s, probably 1783, he went to live with the young rising publisher Tsutaya Juzaburo, with whom he apparently lived for about 5 years. He seems to have become a principal artist for the Tsutaya firm. His output of prints for the next few years was sporadic, as he produced mostly illustrations for books of kyoka, literally 'crazy verse', a parody of the classical waka form. He seems to have produced nothing at all that has survived in the period 1790-1792.

In about 1791 Utamaro gave up designing prints for books and concentrated on making half-length single portraits of women, rather than the prints of women in groups favored by other ukiyo-e artists. In 1793 he achieved recognition as an artist, and his semi-exclusive arrangement with the publisher Tsutaya Juzaburo was terminated. He then went on to produce a number of very famous series, all featuring women of the Yoshiwara district.

In 1804, at the height of his success, he ran into legal trouble by publishing prints related to a banned historical novel. The prints. entitled Hideyoshi and his 5 Concubines, depicted the military ruler Toyotomi Hideyoshi's wife and concubines; Consequently, he was accused of insulting Hideyoshi's dignity. He was sentenced to be handcuffed for 50 days which ended his career as an artist.

He died two years later in 1806, 53 years old.

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